A new research shows that Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), an ADHD drug, may also curb binge-eating disorder, or compulsive overeating.
Vyvanse is used in the U.S. to treat the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while binge-eating has no official drug approved to cure it. Currently, binge-eating is treated by some physicians with epilepsy drugs.
Past studies showed that epilepsy medication helps people eat well and lose extra pounds at the cost of mental impairment, and not all people tolerate it. However, Vyvanse is a very well tolerated drug, the new research revealed.
The binge-eating disorder has been recently classified by the psychiatric community as a distinct psychiatric disorder.
Binge eating is often described as compulsive overeating due to stress or guilt followed by a sense of lack of power, an extra dose of guilt and disgust. Depression is also linked with binge eating – if you are depressed you eat, if you eat you gain weight, if you gain weight self-esteem drops and you get more depressed and so on.
Many binge-eaters reported that they felt like they were on auto-pilot while bingeing. Others said they didn’t know what they were eating or how the food tasted like during the binge. People who suffer from binge-eating disorder usually have frequent episodes of uncontrollable overeating and are upset after or during bingeing. Additionally, feelings of guilt or social inadequacy fuel the disorder.
Binge eating is different from bulimia. After bingeing, people do not try to vomit, fast or over-exercise to make-up for the binges.
Binge eating often leads to weight gain and obesity, which only reinforces compulsive eating. Also, fear of looking fat is the main emotional trigger for bulimia, while bingeing is usually practiced as a way to relief stress, pain, or guilt. Additionally, all binge eaters reported acute lack of control.
Beside overeating, bingers also eat very fast, eat even when they feel full, eat in secret, try to eat like a normal person when in society, they stockpile food, and have no planned mealtimes.
The new study on Vyvanse and binge-eating disorders was conducted over a 14-week period, and it was published in JAMA Psychiatry on January 14. Shire Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Vyvanse, funded the research.
The study involved 260 binge-eaters with moderate to severe symptoms. The study participants aged between 18 and 55 years old. No patient was diagnosed with other food-related psychiatric disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia.
During the study, patients taking higher doses of Vyvanse experienced fewer bingeing episodes over a week, as compared with people taking lower doses or no dose at all. However, during the study one participant died of overdose because he was simultaneously taking another amphetamine drug. Also, doctors not involved in the study criticized the results because Vyvanse is a “highly addictive drug” and has major side-effects such as higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
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