New “Binge Eating Disorder” Drug Generating Controversy

Rob Wipond
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The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the approved uses of the ADHD drug Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) to treat “binge-eating disorder” in adults. “The drug is the first FDA-approved medication to treat this condition,” stated an FDA press release.

“Vyvanse was reviewed under the FDA’s priority review program, which provides for an expedited review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious disease or condition and may provide a significant improvement over available therapy,” added the press release.

“Binge eating was only recently added to the American Psychiatric Association’s approved list of mental disorders,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “An estimated 2.8 million adults in the U.S. are binge eaters, two times more than those who have the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia combined, according to Shire. For Shire, the approval could eventually add “several hundred million” dollars in sales, and help the company reach its goal of $10 billion in yearly sales by 2020, said Flemming Ornskov, the company’s chief executive. Vyvanse is the company’s top-selling drug, notching $1.1 billion of the company’s $4.3 billion in total sales during the first nine months of last year.”

“But specialists in the treatment of eating disorders weren’t so sure,” reported International Business Times. “(Binge Eating Disorder) is a complicated disorder, with too many causes and factors to be treated by a single drug, and both Vyvanse and Shire Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s manufacturer, have troubled histories that include illegal marketing and child suicides.”

FDA expands uses of Vyvanse to treat binge-eating disorder (US FDA press release, January 30, 2015)

Shire Drug Cleared to Treat Binge-Eating Disorder (Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015)

Binge-Eating Disorder Drug: Vyvanse, Controversial ADHD Medication, Approved by FDA (International Business Times, February 6, 2015)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Drug companies are always looking to expand their sales…I recovered from a very serious eating and sadness “disorder” as a young adult by learning how my behaviors were a way to manage the pain of my life…I used Geneen Roth’s self help book, “Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating,” and overcame my binge eating problem over 30 years ago…I shudder at the thought of taking a medication to solve what, at least for me, was such a complex, human problem…drugs cannot fix most things…they can speed us up, slow us down and cover our pain…but they can never help us heal or transform or grow…living, finding support and the right kind of ‘help’ and hard work are required for those things…

  2. “The drug is the first FDA-approved medication to treat this condition,” stated an FDA press release.

    No its not.

    Vyvanse is just the new gimmick in order for Shire to be able to keep a steady cash flow cause their patent on Adderal expired in 2009.

    Adderal was originally formulated as a diet pill, its the 1970’s diet aid, known as Orbitrol.

  3. If overweight adults want to take speed who cares ? I don’t .

    The Amphetamine high is epic.

    But check this out,

    With patent extension up for grabs, Shire agrees to test Vyvanse in preschoolers.

    Vyvance To Be Tested On Four-Year-Olds | The Fix
    http://www.thefix.com/content/adhd-drug-be-tested-four-year-olds

    Check it out, the 4 year old sits still when he is high this stuff and we can make even more money selling pills for the side effects and the insomnia it causes !

    • “If overweight adults want to take speed who cares ? I don’t . ”
      I do if they are told that this is a safe and effective anti-obesity drug instead of being informed. And I can guarantee that’s what all these people are going to get told.
      I’m not against narcotics and performance enhancing drugs as long as you’re an adult who know what he/she is getting him/herself into. That’s not what is going on here.