Washington: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults - a first of its kind prescription drug specifically indicated for BED.
The new drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate will be available under the brand name Vyvanse, the US-based The Obesity Society (TOS) said in a statement.
"TOS has long supported new tools to assist with treating obesity. Given that if untreated, BED has shown in some people to lead to reduced long-term success in behavioural weight-loss programmes and following bariatric surgery, this new tool may prove useful in the obesity treatment setting," said Martin Binks, TOS secretary treasurer and associate professor of nutritional sciences at Texas Tech University.
BED is an eating disorder that affects only a portion of those with the medical disease obesity.
While as many as 30 percent of people seeking obesity treatment may report some degree of binge eating, those who meet clinical criteria for BED are likely to represent only 7-10 percent of all obesity treatment seekers.
"It is important to consider treating BED in the context of other treatments specifically targeting obesity," said Susan L McElroy, TOS member who specialises in both obesity and BED treatment.
Vyvanse is approved for treating BED, but it is not approved for weight-loss or obesity treatment and should not be considered a replacement for this treatment, he pointed out.
"For the subset of people with obesity who also have binge eating disorder the availability of this new, safe and effective tool to treat BED may provide some long-awaited support," said McElroy.
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