Update: A New Drug That Targets BED

A handful of medications are currently available for treating binge eating disorder (BED). One of these drugs, lysdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse®), originally developed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, was the first FDA-approved medication to treat moderate-to- severe BED. The anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax®) has been shown to reduce binge-eating episodes, and antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs have been helpful as well. During a poster session at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Diego, Dr. B. Navia and colleagues reported that a new drug, dasotraline, a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor,  significantly reduced binge-eating days per week and was well tolerated among 317 adults diagnosed with moderate-to-severe BED. The researchers conducted a phase 2/3 12-week randomized double-blind, parallel group, multicenter placebo-controlled study in which participants received the drug in flexible once-daily dosages ranging from 4 mg to 8 mg, or a placebo.  Approximately 46.5% of participants who received dasotraline stopped binge-eating for at least 4 consecutive weeks, compared with 20.6% of the group that received a placebo. About 5% of participants reported side effects such as decreased appetite, dry mouth, anxiety, nausea, headache, constipation, and other symptoms, but the drug was generally well tolerated. The drug did produce statistically significant improvement, compared with placebo, on the Clinical Global Impression of Severity of Illness scale and the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Modified for Binge Eating. The manufacturer, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, recently submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) for dasotraline.

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