ADHD Drug Could Be Used To Treat Binge Eating Disorder

A number study suggests that a popular drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be used in combating binge eating disorder (BED). The clinical trial could be a breakthrough for the estimated 4 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder.

Researchers at the Lindner Center of Hope Research Institute in Mason, Ohio compared lisdexamfetamine (a drug used to treat ADHD) with a placebo in more than 500 adults with BED. Each dosage was administered in either 30, 50 or 70mg per day or a placebo.

Trial results showed that the number of binge eating days each week decreased in the groups who were administered 50 and 70mg of the drug each day compared to the placebo group. Over the course of one month, nearly half of the participants were able to completely eliminate BED behavior.

Dr. Susan McElroy, the lead researcher of the study, said that the team initially chose the drug because both BED and ADHD show signs of excessive impulsivity, obesity, and dopamine dysfunction.

“In studies of ADHD, lisdexamfetamine improved impulsive symptoms and reduced hunger,” McElroy said. “BED is characterized by increased impulsivity and increased hunger, and animal studies suggested drugs like lisdexamfetamine reduced binge eating behavior.”

According to previous research, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can reduce BED behavior, but the practice is not widespread. Therefore, many BED patients are undertreated.
McElroy said she hopes confirmation of the findings will inspire further studies and improve pharmacologic treatment for BED.

“The results of this study need to be replicated in studies of larger groups of people with BED,” McElroy said. “Pharmaceutical company Shire is having discussions with the FDA about getting approval of lisdexamfetamine for the treatment of BED.”

Source: JAMA Psychiatry
Photo: Pexels

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