There are no FDA-approved treatments for binge eating disorder, but several drugs show some promise. The anti-seizure medication Topamax, which acts as an appetite suppressant in epilepsy patients, has proved somewhat successful in reducing the frequency and severity of bingeing. In a study published last month in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the weight loss drug Meridia was shown to significantly reduce bingeing; binge eaters treated with the drug also lost more weight during a 24-week period than those receiving only a placebo.
Unfortunately, therapies that help prevent bingeing don't necessarily translate into successful weight loss. Although some doctors view that as a treatment failure, others offer a different perspective. "Weight loss should be viewed as a positive side effect of treatment, not its primary goal," Boutelle says. "The goal of treatment is to make people feel better, and sometimes simply stopping the bingeing can do that."