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What Is Vyvanse? New Treatment Approved for Binge Eating Disorder

Vyvanse was FDA approved earlier this year for adults suffering from binge eating disorder (BED), but what is Vyvanse? Vyvanse is a prescription drug originally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can be addictive. The news sparked heated debates as addiction specialists worry that users will either become addicted to the substance or addicts might claim to have BED in order to score prescriptions from their doctors.

What Is Vyvanse?

A new binge eating disorder treatment has recently become available, but it isn’t exactly a new medication.  Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, or Vyvanse, is an FDA-approved pharmaceutical drug that first made its way into the prescription drug scene in 2007 to treat ADHD.  In September 2014, the company who manufacturers the drug, Shire, proclaimed they would move forward with the effort to use Vyvanse as treatment for binge eating disorder, but representatives of the company wouldn’t have official word until February 2015 on the matter.

According to a report on Pharmacy Times, head of research and development Phil Vickers, PhD, spoke during September about the news, saying, “The decision from the FDA to accept our filing for priority review not only marks progress in the development of Vyvanse for adults with BED, but underscores this is an area of unmet medical need, as there are currently no approved pharmacological options for these patients.”

Potential for drug abuse

The main problem with Vyvanse is that it’s an addictive drug.  Although using Vyvanse for BED treatment may seem effective, it comes with risks for potential abuse.  “Substance abuse is a concern and is often linked with binge-eating disorder,” confirmed Angela Guarda, medic and director of the Eating Disorders Program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  “Vyvanse is a controlled substance with abuse potential.  There is some concern that the direct-to-consumer marketing of this drug that’s underway will result in patients asking for this medicine from physicians.  Without enough data to know how it will work, caution is warranted.”  As with any drug that is high-risk for abuse, doctors will need to follow certain guidelines when it comes to prescribing Vyvanse to their patients .  Unlike other prescription stimulant performance enhancing drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, Vyvanse was developed to be abuse-deterrent.  However, it can still be taken in excess, which is why there is still potential for abuse and if individuals who truly don’t need the medication end up taking it.

Abuse confirmed

Recently it was confirmed that adults have been abusing stimulants more frequently.  Since the approval of Vyvanse for BED, the drug has already been on the rise for abuse. According to CBS News, a publication from Lancet claimed that millions currently take ADHD medication like Vyvanse to increase focus and better function throughout the day.  Even though 4.5% of adults and between 5-10% of children suffer from ADHD, as found by the American Journal of Psychiatry, professionals are supposedly overprescribing and giving out prescriptions to patients who may not actually need the medication.

In other words, Dr. Holly Phillips explained, “What we do know about this is the number of prescriptions written for adults is far outpacing the number of ADHD diagnoses being made.”  She was sure to warn that there are more serious altercations that come with taking this medication , “There can be more serious effects, whether it’s seizures, high blood pressure. But the big question is people who have ADHD, they have changes in the neurotransmitters of their brains. These drugs help to even those out and balance out those neurotransmitters. We don’t know what these drugs do long-term to people who have healthy brains. So that’s really one of the reasons we need to do more research, and why we should be reticent to people who don’t actually carry the diagnosis.”

Are you stuck in active addiction to stimulants and/or another substance but don’t know where to turn?  Contact The Watershed now to seek help and discover a new way to live in sobriety.  Recovery is possible, so call today.




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