Can I Take Vyvanse to Lose Weight?

Weight loss pills
Tom Merton/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a medication called Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) to help people with moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder.  Prior to the FDA announcement, Vyvanse was already in use to help people with ADHD. The new approval from the government means that the drug can be used more often in different types of treatment. But should Vyvanse be used to lose weight?

Vyvanse for Weight Loss?

If you scour the internet for information about weight loss medications, you'll see search results for Vyvanse. Plenty of forum users and other non-medical sites discuss using Vyvanse to lose weight. But in the FDA announcement about the drug's approval, the experts are clear about how the medication should and should not be used. 

The experts explain that the drug has been shown to reduce the number of binge-eating episodes and the number of days when binge-eating occurs. But they go on to explain that it's not designed for weight loss.

"Vyvanse is not approved for, or recommended for, weight loss. Its efficacy for weight loss has not been studied."

So should the drug be used to lose weight? No.  There are several FDA-approved medications for weight loss that can help you if you are overweight or obese, but Vyvanse is not one of them. The drug may be able to help you, however, if the cause of your weight gain is binge-eating.

Treat Binge-Eating Disorder to Lose Weight

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a clinical condition according to the American Psychiatric Association. A person with BED is someone who has repeated episodes of binge-eating and then experiences stress or guilt about the episode. The binge-eating episodes must meet certain criteria to fall within the clinical guidelines, but in a very general sense, it is when a person eats very quickly, feels out of control and/or overeats to the point of feeling sick and embarrased.

Sometimes, binge-eating can cause weight gain and ultimately obesity. According to the Weight Control Information Network, in those cases the binge-eater may benefit from a weight-loss program that also offers treatment for eating disorders.  But the first step to treatment should be a medical or behavioral health specialist.  Once diagnosed, your health care provider can tell you if Vyvanse can help to lose weight by managing your binge eating episodes.

Continue Reading