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ADHD Drug Trial: Effective in Treating Binge Eating

Update Date: Nov 07, 2013 09:35 AM EST

In a recent clinical trial, pharmaceutical company Shire PLC, announced that its drug, Vyvanse, developed for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) was effective in treating binge eating. Vyvanse, which is an amphetamine-based drug, has already been approved in some countries for ADHD. In the United States, the drug is being prescribed to students with ADHD. Now, based from the trial's results, Vyvanse could potentially be an option for people with the newly-recognized disease, binge eating disorder (BED)

"BED is a condition for which there is no currently approved pharmacologic treatment and yet there is significant unmet patient need, as was demonstrated with the faster than expected enrollment of participants in our clinical trial program," Shire's chief executive, Flemming Ornskov said according to Reuters Health.

The drug was capable of reducing the number of days participants turned to binge eating. BED was recognized as a real psychiatric disorder this past May in the U.S. Statistics show that BED affects 2.8 percent of American adults. Symptoms of the disorder include recurring episodes of binge eating, feeling a loss of control and dealing with guilt and shame post bingeing.

Binge eating can lead to both physiological and physical problems. Since people with BED cannot control their eating, they are more likely to become obese and obesity leads to several health complications. In addition, since people with BED often feel guilty, these emotions could build up and lead to an increase risk of depression or other mental disorders. Since BED is a relatively new disorder, there are no treatment options and Shire plans on providing one of the first approved treatments.

The London-listed company plans on submitting an application for the approval of the use of the drug in treating BED to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ornskov stated that the company would present the details, including the efficacy of the drug and the safety of taking it at a major scientific meeting in 2014. The company is expected to file for approval by the third quarter of next year.

With the announcement of the trial's success, Shire is estimated to make around $220 million in 2017 according to analysts from Deutsche Bank.  

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