Binge-Eating Disorder: Diagnosis & Drug

This disorder was first described in 1959 however was only added as a diagnostic entity to DSM-IV in 2013.

It is defined by recurrent episodes of binge eating at least 2 days a week for at least 6 months. In addition, there is a subjective sense of a loss of control over binge eating, which is indicated by the presence of 3 of 5 specific criteria:

  • Eating rapidly;
  • Eating when not physically hungry;
  • Eating when alone;
  • Eating until uncomfortably full;
  • Feeling self-disgust about bingeing.

ARE THEY SERIOUS? I would definitely not classify myself as having any kind of eating disorder but I have MOST DEFINITELY on occasion eaten rapidly, when alone, until uncomfortably full. As would have most people I know.

(Actually, is pregnancy an exclusion…? I have fulfilled the above criteria both with pistachios and ice cream & milo. It wasn’t my finest┬ámoment but THE BABY NEEDED IT).

Lucky for the world, there has been a new drug approved for binge-eating disorder. Geez and it only took them less than 2 years from diagnosis to approval. If only they would apply themselves similarly to other problems in medicine… or say, world hunger.

Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse), previously approved for ADHD, has now been approved for binge-eating disorders in adults. It is a central nervous system stimulant and may reduce binge-eating behaviours.

Luckily it only comes with the following side-effects:

  • Dry mouth;
  • Insomnia;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Anxiety;
  • Exacerbation of psychiatric disorders including mania.

Please just gloss over the more serious side-effects including:

  • Sudden death;
  • Stroke;
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack).

(Silly billy things really…)

Bonus: it is classified as a schedule II substance because it carries a high potential for abuse.

So let’s summarise… For a disorder whose classification criteria is a bit dodgy to start with, there is a new highly-addictive drug available that MAY help, that carries the side-effects of heart attack, stroke and sudden death (one should also get aware about the related side effects of Xarelto).

Call me crazy but it seems in this case that the drug side-effects far outweigh the perceived drug benefits.

(You’re crazy!). OK, I know.

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