The Use of Vyvanse in the Treatment of Binge-Eating Disorder

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In This Article

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is an FDA-approved central nervous stimulant to used to treat ADHD and binge-eating disorder (BED). It is not approved for weight loss, however, for people who have moderate-to-severe BED, treating the binge eating with Vyvanse can lead to weight loss.

What Is Binge-Eating Disorder?

BED is an eating disorder that was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) in 2013. It involves recurring episodes of binge eating without purging and accompanying feelings of remorse afterward. 

Binge eating can lead to weight gain and ultimately obesity. It is defined as eating a significantly larger than normal portion of food in a short period and feeling that you cannot stop or control how much you are eating. 

Episodes of binge eating are characterized by eating much more rapidly than normal, continuing until feeling uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not feeling physically hungry, eating alone due to the embarrassment of how much you are eating, and feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty afterward. 

To be diagnosed with BED, a marked level of distress regarding binge eating must be present, binging is not associated with purging or over-exercising to compensate, and the behavior occurs at least once a week for three months. 

Vyvanse for Binge-Eating Disorder

Individual or group therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), are recommended for treatment of BED. In addition, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Vyvanse as the first drug to treat BED in 2010.

In preclinical trials of patients with moderate to severe BED, Vyvanse was shown to reduce the frequency of binge eating days from an average of four or more days per week to one day, and also help to prevent relapse.


When starting Vyvanse, your doctor will likely begin at a lower dose and increase it gradually until you get the maximum benefit. The standard initial dose is 30 mg taken every morning, increasing by 20 mg a week for a maximum dose of 70 mg a day. 

Vyvanse is a controlled substance, which means it is more regulated than some other prescription drugs. In most states, you will need to see your doctor each month to obtain a new prescription, and refill requests cannot be made over the phone.

Precautions and Side Effects

Vyvanse, a central nervous system stimulant, comes with some risks. It is in a class of drugs known as amphetamines, which have a high potential for abuse and dependence and are linked to serious cardiovascular reactions, including sudden death, stroke, and heart attacks. People with a known hypersensitivity to amphetamine products should not take Vyvanse.

Common side effects of Vyvanse include: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constipation 
  • Feeling jittery
  •  Anxiety

A Word From Verywell

If you think you may have binge-eating disorder, the first step to treatment should be seeing a medical or behavioral health specialist. Once diagnosed, your health care provider can tell you if Vyvanse can help you to lose weight by managing your binge eating episodes.

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