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Could Binge Eating Disorder Be Prevented with ADHD Drug?

Dorathy Gass

Could an ADHD drug help prevent and mitigate Binge Eating Disorder? (BED). Researches think so.

In a clinical study lead by Lindner Center of Hope Research Institute in Mason, Ohio researchers used a sample of over 500 people and tested a common ADHD drug to see what the impact would be.

During the study they found that those taking the ADHD drug lisdexamfetamine compared to those who took a pill with no impact to the body (a placebo). The research showed over a 30 day period that in excess of 40% of those taking the drugs were able to completely rid themselves of BED.

The lead in the study was Dr. Susan McElroy who told FoxNews.com that “BED is characterized by increased impulsivity and increased hunger, and animal studies suggested drugs like lisdexamfetamine reduced binge eating behavior.” Those diagnosed with ADHD often show severe signs of impulsive behavior, which this drug tends to curb.

Although it is less publicized, estimates put the number of Americans with BED around 4 million. BED is defined by compulsive overeating in where persons consume massive amounts of food. Often times the persons will feel hopeless and at the mercy of their food.

HelpGuide.org notes these 3 main characteristics:

  • Frequent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating.
  • Feeling extremely distressed or upset during or after bingeing.
  • Unlike bulimia, there are no regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising.

Because of the difficulty to identify the Binge Eating Disoder, generally most people with it go untreated or their symptoms are misdiagnosed. The finding in this Ohio study may help assist in both identifying and treating BED.

It is a good sign for those suffering from BED, but it will often take years and more testing to conclude on these findings. McElroy and her team are encouraged by the results by more trials will have to be done.

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

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