Put Down the Fork: Rx Could Curb Binge-Eating

Vyvanse reduced binge eating disorder symptoms in clinical trial

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Patients with binge-eating disorder face a lack of approved treatments for their condition. A new medication could give hope to these patients.

A new study found that lisdexamfetamine (brand name Vyvanse) kept patients with binge-eating disorder from binge-eating as often. It also helped some patients stop binge-eating altogether.

Susan L. McElroy, MD, of the Lindner Center of HOPE in Mason, OH, led this study.

“This study supports further assessment of lisdexamfetamine as a treatment option for decreasing binge-eating behavior and the binge-eating-associated obsessive and compulsive features in adults with moderate-to-severe binge-eating disorder,” Dr. McElroy and team wrote.

Patients with binge-eating disorder have regular episodes in which they lose control of their eating and eat too much. This results in the patient becoming stressed, both about overeating and gaining weight. Binge-eating disorder has been tied to obesity and other disorders like depression.

Overeating may be linked to the dopamine system not working properly. Dopamine affects how the brain controls movement, emotional responses, and the ability to feel pain or pleasure. In patients with binge-eating disorder, the brain shows greater increased dopamine levels. Lisdexamfetamine — originally used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — blocks the brain from absorbing excess dopamine. According to Dr. McElroy and team, this may alter overeating symptoms and effectively treat binge-eating disorder.

Dr. McElroy and colleagues studied lisdexamfetamine's safety and effectiveness in around 500 patients. Some patients received the new treatment and others received a placebo (fake treatment) over the course of three months.

Patients who received higher lisdexamfetamine had a reduced number of binge-eating episodes. These patients were more likely than those taking a placebo to stop binge-eating for good by the fourth week of this study.

This study was published Jan. 14 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Pharmaceutical company Shire Development funded this research. Drs. McElroy, James I. Hudson, James E. Mitchell, and Denise Wilfley served as consultants or received grants or support from companies like Shire Development. Drs. Celeste Ferreira-Cornwell, Joseph Gao, Timothy Whitaker and Maria Gasior held stocks in Shire Development.

Review Date: 
January 13, 2015
Last Updated:
January 15, 2015