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What are the Medications or Drugs to Treat Eating Disorders?

We have been helping people find MEDICATION treatment for eating disorders SINCE 1999.


 Medications and Eating Disorders: Medication can be a valuable tool in the treatment of eating disorders. However, it is important that a treatment plan also include some form of psychotherapy and nutritional counseling. Medication alone will not likely be effective in treating an eating disorder.

Since research changes so quickly, some or all of the information listed on this page could be out of date. Please use the following information as a guide only and a starting point from which to do further research. A good research tool is www.PubMed.com for the latest findings.

Medication can't cure an eating disorder. However, medications may help you control urges to binge or purge or to manage excessive preoccupations with food and diet. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may also help with symptoms of depression or anxiety, which are frequently associated with eating disorders.

ANOREXIA: Medication is used less frequently to treat anorexia compared to other eating disorders. However, when medication is called for, antidepressants are typically prescribed to treat underlying mental health problems. Fluoxetine (Prozac) may help people with anorexia overcome their depression and maintain a healthy weight once they have gotten their weight and eating under control. Fluoxetine is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs increase serotonin levels, a brain chemical connected to mood. If the patient does not do well on an SSRI, doctors may prescribe olanzapine (Zyprexa), an antipsychotic drug typically used to treat schizophrenia. This medication has been found to help some people with anorexia gain weight and change their obsessive thinking.

BULIMIA: People with bulimia respond well to SSRI antidepressants, even if they aren’t depressed. Fluoxetine (Prozac) can help people stop binging and purging when used alone or with CBT. In fact, Fluoxetine is the only antidepressant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat bulimia. Other SSRI antidepressants may be helpful in treating bulimia and are often used, although scientific studies to support their use are limited. Another possible bulimia medication is topiramate (Topamax), an anti-seizure drug. Topiramate may help people with bulimia suppress their urge to binge and reduce their preoccupation with eating and weight. However, topiramate can have troublesome side effects compared to the SSRIs. Accumulating evidence suggests that antidepressants in combination with psychotherapy can be effective in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. Clinical experience supports the use of most selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (i.e., fluoxetine, sertraline and citalopram) as well as some of the newer antidepressants (i.e., venlafaxine).

BINGE EATING: About 2 percent of U.S. adults, or about 5 million people, have binge eating disorder, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Standard treatment for binge eating and other eating disorders usually involves counseling and psychotherapy. Some doctors also prescribe antidepressants to try and curb eating disorders, though they are not approved for that use. Antidepressants can help treat binge eating disorder. SSRIs, such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sertraline (Zoloft), may help reduce binge eating and can improve mood in patients who are also struggling with depression or anxiety. However, antidepressants in general will not help much with weight loss. Some have also tried anticonvulsants (Topiramate) for treating binge-eating disorder.

Vyvanse, known chemically as lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is part of a family of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system. Federal health regulators have approved an attention deficit disorder drug for a new use: A first-of-its kind treatment for binge-eating disorder. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved Vyvanse in 2007 as a once-a-day pill for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In February of 2015, the agency cleared the drug for adults who compulsively overeat. The drug is not approved for weight loss.

Below is a listing of some of the most common medications prescribed in treating some victims of Eating Disorders (it is important to discuss medications, indications, side's effects, etc. with your medical doctor and/or psychiatrist):

Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride):
- Antidepressant (SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor); SSRIs selectively affect neurotransmitter (the chemicals that send messages to and from the brain) mechanisms in the central nervous system.
- Oral administration
- Used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorders.

Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride) :

- Antidepressant (SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor); SSRIs selectively affect neurotransmitter (the chemicals that send messages to and from the brain) mechanisms in the central nervous system.
- 0ral administration
- Used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorders.

Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride):

- Antidepressant SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor); SSRIs selectively affect neurotransmitter (the chemicals that send messages to and from the brain) mechanisms in the central nervous system.
- Oral administration
- Used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorders.

Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride):

- Antidepressant (unique class of antidepressants called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Believed to work by increasing neurotransmitter effects in the brain.).
- Oral administration
- Used to treat depression.

Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride):

- Antidepressant (structurally unrelated to tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).
- Oral administration
- Used to treat major depressive disorders, by increasing the levels of certain nerve transmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. It is also believed that it also acts as a brain stimulant.
* The extended release formulation of this drug is also indicated to help in smoking cessation.

Luvox (fluvoxamine):

- Antidepressant
- Oral administration
- Used in the treatment of depression and for the symptomatic relief of depressive illness, significantly reduces the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Despiramine/Norpramin (desipramine hydrochloride):

- Tricyclic antidepressant
- Oral administration
- Used in treatment of endogenous depressive illness, including the depressed phase of manic depressive illness, involutional melancholia and psychotic depression. It may also be indicated in the management of depression of a nonpsychotic degree such as in selected cases of depressive neurosis. Patients with transient mood disturbances or normal grief reaction are not expected to benefit from tricyclic antidepressants. It has also been used to treat cocaine withdrawal, panic disorder and Bulimia Nervosa.

Imipramine/Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride):

- Tricyclic antidepressant
- Oral administration
- Used for relief of depressive illness, panic disorder, chronic pain (from migraines, tension headaches, diabetes, cancer, arthritis), and bulimia nervosa.

Remeron (mirtazapine):

- Antidepressant
- Oral administration
- Used for the symptomatic relief of depressive illness.

Xanax (alprazolam):

- Anxiety medication (a type of central nervous system (CNS) depressant or medicine that slows down the nervous system).
- Oral administration
- Used to treat anxiety, anxiety associated with depression and panic disorders.

Lithium (lithium carbonate):
- Antipsychotic/antimanic
- Oral administration
- Used in the treatment of acute manic episodes in patients with manic-depressive disorders. Maintenance therapy has been found useful in preventing or diminishing the frequency of subsequent relapses in patients with bipolar disorder. It has also been used to treat migraine headaches, bulimia and alcoholism.

Naltrexone / Revia (naltrexone hydrochloride):

-Oral administration
-Used for the treatment of Alcoholism, binge-related Eating Disorders. Naltrexone may also be useful in treating those who are "cutters" or who practice in self-multilation.

*Consult your physician or psychiatrist regarding these medications, side effects, considerations, indications, etc.

*Information adapted from pharmaceutical information network
* Information adapted from RXMed

New Potential Medications:

Dasotraline effective for binge­ eating disorder, January 16, 2017
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals recently announced dasotraline, a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, met its primary efficacy endpoint for moderate ­to ­severe binge ­eating disorder inadults, but did not meet its primary endpoint for ADHD in adults.“We are pleased to see such strong results in our first major study of dasotraline in patients with binge ­eating disorder,” Antony Loebel, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Sunovion, said in a press release. “We remain confident in the potential for dasotraline to offer anew, differentiated therapeutic option for adults with [binge ­eating disorder] as well as children and adults with ADHD. We look forward to sharing the results of our ongoing clinical studies.”

We cannot diagnose or treat eating disorders by email, but we can send you information and assist you in finding resources. Information provided by the Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center is not a substitute for medical treatment or psychological care. It is vital that you talk with your physician and a qualified mental health professional regarding eating disorder symptoms and treatment.

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In Partnership with the American Eating Disorder Association- -SINCE 1999