The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, under the brand name Vyvanse, to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults, a first of its kind prescription drug specifically indicated for BED.
"TOS has long supported new tools to assist with treating obesity," says Martin Binks, PhD, TOS Secretary Treasurer and Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University. "Given that if untreated, BED has shown in some people to lead to reduced long-term success in behavioral weight-loss programs and following bariatric surgery, this new tool may prove useful in the obesity treatment setting."
For clinicians, TOS says that understanding the differences between obesity and BED is important. BED is an eating disorder that affects only a portion of those with the medical disease obesity. While as many as 30% of people seeking obesity treatment may report some degree of binge eating, those who meet clinical criteria for BED likely represent only 7-10% of all obesity treatment seekers.
"It is important to consider treating BED in the context of other treatments specifically targeting obesity," says Susan L. McElroy, MD, a TOS member who specializes in both obesity and BED treatment, and Chief Research Officer, Lindner Center of HOPE and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "Vyvanse is approved for treating BED, but it is not approved for weight-loss or obesity treatment and should not be considered a replacement for this treatment."
Research shows that obesity is a far more complex condition than simply being a matter of eating less and exercising more. In most cases, obesity is chronic and challenging to treat and puts individuals at risk for more than 30 health conditions.
"For the subset of people with obesity who also have binge eating disorder the availability of this new, safe and effective tool to treat BED may provide some long-awaited support," said Dr. McElroy, who previously coordinated clinical research on Vyvanse.
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