Date: 09 Apr 2013

Therapeutic options for binge eating disorder

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This article addresses the state of the art concerning the treatment of binge eating disorder (BED). Pharmacological and psychotherapeutic strategies, together with issues concerning the involvement in bariatric surgery are considered.


A Medline enquiry of published articles was performed using the following keywords: BED, pharmacological treatment, duloxetine, venlafaxine, SSRI, psychotherapy, bariatric surgery; reviews and single-case studies were also analyzed.


Psychological interventions that have shown efficacy in the treatment of Bulimia Nervosa have also been tested in BED with positive results, in particular modified cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. In addition pharmacotherapy with SSRIs is successful in transiently reducing binge-eating and body weight; the SNRI duloxetine is effective for reducing binge eating, and global severity of illness with a controversial effect on body weight; both topiramate and sibutramine seem promising, but their use is restricted due to labeling and side effect limitations, respectively. Finally, adequate psychological/pharmacological support can help BED patients obtain positive outcomes from bariatric surgery.


Studies on BED treatment are burdened by several limitations as selection biases (e.g. mostly women and overweight), small samples, high drop-out rates and placebo response.