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The key role of binge eating disorder treatment is to minimize binge eating habits, either through psychotherapeutic methods or with the help of drugs.

Binge eating disorder — a severe and potentially life-threatening eating disorder — requires complex treatment. It poses a risk to patients not just because of the associated compulsive eating and obesity, or the cardiovascular diseases it can lead to, but also because it can alter sufferers' brain structure.

Changes in brain serotonin, responsible for a mood function known as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT, were found to play a part in the development of eating disorders including binge eating disorder. [1] In short, this means that binge eating disorder sufferers have higher rates of other mental conditions, like ADHD, depression, mood and anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. [1, 2]

The good news, though, is that binge eating disorder can be treated. 

A medication that treats ADHD in adults and children is especially useful in the treatment of binge eating disorder [3], and antidepressant treatment is often recommended as a binge eating disorder treatment as well. This is because of the connection between BED and other neurobiological factors such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder [4].

How Do Medications For Binge Eating Disorder Help You?

An alternative to home treatment for binge eating disorder: 21 natural treatments and herbs is pharmacological treatment which aims to:

  • Prevent relapse after binge eating disorder recovery [5].
  • Restore patients to healthy weights.
  • Address emotional difficulties like distress, low self-worth, and impulsive eating.
  • Improve a patient’s total well-being.
  • Address dysfunctional behavioral regulation.
  • Enhance associated psychological difficulties and treat physical complications.

Treatment For Binge Eating Disorder

The key role of binge eating disorder treatment is to minimize binge eating habits and possibly help the individual to lose weight. Given that binge eating is associated with a feeling of remorse, embarrassment, and low self-esteem, binge eating disorder treatment also seeks to improve the patient's overall mental well-being.

Recent studies suggest that the best treatment for binge eating disorder is psychological treatment.  [678,9]

However, compared to alternative therapy mainstream treatments and drugs do greatly help to reduce binge eating episodes, especially in conjunction with psychotherapy and other treatment methods. This is why a few scientific studies propose a multidisciplinary treatment approach to binge eating disorder [5, 10].

Different classes of medication are used in the treatment of binge eating disorder. These include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and anti-obesity drugs. [11, 12]

Psychotropic medicine, especially antidepressants and antipsychotics, are often used in binge eating disorder patients to treat comorbid symptoms. Fluoxetine, escitalopram, and aripiprazole the most popular of these binge eating disorder medications. [13]

Drugs Used In The Treatment Of Binge Eating Disorder

Vyvanse (lisdexamphetamine) is at present the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of binge eating disorder. It is particularly recommended for moderate and severe therapy for binge eating disorder in adults, who can expect to be offered 50 to 70 mg daily. [1415]  If you are prescribed Vyvanse, your blood chemistry, bone health, toxicology and GI condition will be closely monitored. [5]

There is inadequate data regarding the success rates of Vyvanse in adults with mild binge eating episodes or teens and elderly people with associated comorbid behaviors like moodiness and fretfulness. [16] Vyvanse is not a weight loss treatment option.

Common side effects of Vyvanse are sleeplessness, increased heart rate, dry mouth, jittery feelings, constipation, and nervousness. However, it can also lead to more serious side effects like:

  • Psychiatric problems
  • Heart complications which include sudden death in people with heart disease or heart defects, 
  • Stroke and heart attack in adults
  • Psychotic or manic symptoms like phantasm and manic disorder, even in individuals without a previous history of psychotic illness. [15]

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medications like anxiolytics and the mood stabilizer lithium carbonate are only a recommended treatment option for binge eating when the patient has associated psychotic symptoms.

A study found that psychostimulant medications used in the management of ADHD to target the dopamine system and control behavior also help in the treatment of binge eating disorder. [2]

Research further shows that desipramine reduces binge eating episodes, binge eating associated with stress, and helps to curb appetite. Tricyclic antidepressants are likewise useful at reducing short-term binge-eating episodes.

Anticonvulsant Medications

Studies found that anticonvulsant medications like topiramate and zonisamide can suppress appetite, which leads to binge eating [11].

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressant drugs that belong to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class, like fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline, citalopram, or escitalopram helps to reduce binge eating episodes. The risk associated with them is also minimal. [5, 16, 11]

Antidepressants should be carefully prescribed, starting with small initial doses and a gradual dosage increase. Toxic serum concentrations may build up at comparatively small doses. Thus, the dosage levels must be adequately monitored from time to time. [17]

D-Fenfluramine

D-Fenfluramine has serotonergic effects and it serves as an excellent appetite suppressant, making it a highly efficient treatment of acute binge eating disorder. However, long-term use may cause valvular abnormalities. [18]

Naltrexone

A study found that Naltrexone, when combined with fluoxetine or psychotherapy, significantly helps to reduce episodes of binge eating —which implies that opiate obstruction is a potential clinical treatment for binge-eating disorder. [18]

Oxcarbazepine

Research conducted by the psychiatry Department of Neurosciences at the University of Turin, Italy found that oxcarbazepine is especially great at eradicating perceptible impetuous binge eating.

Oxcarbazepine also helps treat the related psychological effects of binge eating, like in mood, anger, and disruptive behavior. However, the study proposes using Oxcarbazepine together with other forms of treatment instead of exclusively. [19]

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