Evidence suggests that talk therapy, second-generation antidepressants, and a CNS stimulant used for ADHD are all safe and effective treatments for adults with binge-eating disorder. The systematic evidence review and meta-analysis is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder, affecting about 3 percent of the U.S. population. Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent, brief, psychologically distressing episodes of out-of-control eating. During a binge-eating episode, patients eat larger amounts of food than most people would consume under similar circumstances. Binge-eating disorder is associated with poorer psychological and physical well-being and may result in chronic health conditions. Treatment for binge-eating disorder aims to reduce binge frequency and disordered eating-related conditions, improve metabolic health and weight, and regulate mood. Treatment approaches include psychological and behavioral treatments, pharmacologic treatments, and combinations of the two, but the best treatment options are unclear.

Researchers reviewed published evidence to summarize evidence about the benefits and harms of psychological and pharmacologic therapies for adults with binge-eating disorder. They found strong evidence that therapist-led cognitive behavior therapy, second generation antidepressants, and lisdexamfetamine (a CNS stimulant commonly used for ADHD) all reduced the frequency of binge eating, increased the likelihood of achieving abstinence from binge-eating, and improved other eating-related psychological outcomes. There was less compelling evidence for other forms of cognitive behavior therapy and topiramate (an anticonvulsant commonly used to treat seizure disorder). This evidence will help to inform recommendations for treating adults with binge-eating disorder.