Wendy Wright, DNP, ANP-BC: How to Treat Binge Eating Disorder

While there is no standard treatment for binge eating disorder, there are ways to help patients.

While there may not be a universal drug to treat binge eating disorder, doctors and patients do have both pharmacological and non-pharmacological options to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

During the 2nd Annual Advanced Practice Collaborative, Wendy Wright, DNP, ANP-BC, a family nurse practitioner with Wright & Associates Family Healthcare, explained in an interview with MD Magazine® what some of the best treatment options are.

MD Mag: Is there an ideal, standard treatment regimen for binge eating disorder?

Wright: I would tell you that there’s really nothing in the literature that says this is the cookbook approach to how you’re treating binge eating disorder. I think the first key is to identify it, which we know is absolutely not happening. So, if our colleagues, our primary care and specialty colleagues, can at least identify this and have it on their radar screen I think this interview has gone a long way to getting that awareness present.

Once it’s identified, many of the medications that we use to treat it are medications that we use to treat substance abuse disorder. We know that there are 2 neurotransmitters that are really believed to be involved in people with binge eating disorder and that is norepinephrine and dopamine. So, once we’ve identified it, certainly non-pharmacological treatments are essential. They need good education on diet, on exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy. Working with someone who is really interested in helping people with eating disorders is really essential.

Then we can get into pharmaco therapy and that would include a medication such as lisdexamfetamine, we know that as Vyvanse. We can use atomoxetine, which is a drug called Strattera. That is not unlabeled but there are studies showing its benefit. We can use obesity related meds for the treatment and even SSRIs and TCAs and SNRIs. Again, the only unlabeled medication to treat binge eating disorder is lisdexamfetamine or Vyvanse.