Apr 20, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

ADHD Drug May Help You Drop the Fork

Jan 16, 2015 01:12 PM EST

New research has discovered that the drug Vyvanse, meant to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might also be effective in helping treat various binge eating disorders, as well.

Researchers found that when the drug is given in a higher dose compared to the usual dosage for treating ADHD that it can also curtail excessive food consumption.  Currently, Vyvanse is the only drug that has been approved by the FDA to treat ADHD in the United States, and as of now the FDA has not approved any type of drug to treat various binge eating disorders.

In the past binge eating has not been treated as a type of illness, until recently when it was classified as a disorder by the psychiatric community.  Binge eating is generally associated with obesity and in the past has been considered more of a lifestyle choice rather than a disorder.  The main factors of binge eating disorders include food cravings with repeated episodes of excessive food consumption accompanied by the feeling of a loss of control and psychological distress.

One of the study researchers, Dr. James Mitchell, President of the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo says, "Presently, epilepsy drugs are commonly used to treat this disorder, and they actually do help the people to eat healthy and lose weight".

These drugs, however, also have side effects that include cognitive impairment, making it difficult for patients suffering from binge eating to cope with continual usage of these medications.

In a 14-week study, researchers found that the drug Vyvanse was "quite effective" in treating binge eating and was tolerated by most patients better than the epilepsy drugs.

The trial was carried out on more than 500 adults suffering from moderate to severe binge eating disorders.  In the trial, the researchers compared the ADHD drug lisdexamfetamine with a placebo from May 2011 to January 2012. 

The study's lead researcher Dr. Susan McElroy said that dosages were of 30, 50 or 70 mg/day or a placebo. It was found that a decline came in the number of binge-eating days per week in the groups taking 50mg and 70 mg doses daily, in comparison to the placebo group.

This study just marks the beginning of research into binge eating and effective treatments for patients suffering from the disorders.  Researchers are now seeking to replicate the study in much larger groups of adults suffering from a variety of binge eating disorders before we will see any attempt at seeking FDA approval for the treatment of these disorders.

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