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 system stimulant used to treat ADHD and binge eating disorder (BED). While is not approved for weight loss, the use of Vyvanse for moderate-to-severe BED 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 of time and feeling that you cannot stop or control how much you are eating. 

Episodes of binge eating can be characterized by behaviors that include:

  • Eating much more rapidly than normal
  • Continuing to eat until uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts when not physically hungry
  • Eating alone due to the embarrassment of how much you are eating
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty afterward

To be diagnosed with BED, a marked level of distress regarding binge eating must be present, the binging must not be associated with purging or over-exercising to compensate, and the behavior must occur 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 the 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 significantly reduce the frequency of binge eating days. It was also shown to be effective at aiding in the prevention of relapse.

Dosing

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 30mg taken every morning, increasing by 20mg per week for a maximum dose of 70mg 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. Refill requests likely cannot be made over the phone.

Precautions and Side Effects

Since Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant, it comes with some risks. It is in a class of drugs known as amphetamines, which have a high potential for abuse and dependence. They are also linked to serious cardiovascular reactions, including sudden death, stroke, and heart attack. People with a known hypersensitivity to amphetamine products or those who take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not take Vyvanse.

Common side effects from Vyvanse use 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 seeking the help of a medical or behavioral health specialist. Once diagnosed, your health care provider can tell you if Vyvanse can aid in weight loss by managing your binge eating episodes.

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