Old Drug Shows New Promise for Binge-Eating Disorder

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Not a single medication is approved for treatment of binge-eating disorder, but that could change after results are released from a new trial using Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine).

What is binge-eating disorder (BED)?

BED is the most common eating disorder, characterized by excessive food intake accompanied by psychological distress, but without the purging or fasting that are the hallmarks of bulimia and anorexia. Patients with BED are often severely obese and depressed. BED is gaining recognition as a significant health problem, but it sadly remains under diagnosed.

What is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is an amphetamine-like drug used now for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Vyvanse inhibits dopamine reuptake and stimulates release of neurotransmitters.

Will Vyvanse work for BED?

It looks like it. Results of a recent trial of lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) in 213 patients with moderate or severe BED showed promise. While doses of Vyvanse 30 mg and up all showed good results, patients taking Vyvanse 70 mg per day did best of all. Those patients improved from 4.47 binge-eating days per week at baseline to 0.11 after 11 weeks. Most impressive was that 67% of patients had been free of any binge-eating episodes for 1 week at week 11. Longer studies are in the works.

Stay tuned, but this could turn out to be the first medication approved for the treatment of binge-eating disorder.

Dr O.

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