Why Doctors Should Screen for BED Before Prescribing Weight Loss Drugs

Currently some doctors are prescribing a particular medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, administered as a weekly subcutaneous injection, stimulating insulin secretion, suppressing glucagon secretion, and slowing gastric emptying. By doing so, it helps to lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Drugs such as this are usually prescribed along with diet and exercise to help manage blood sugar levels in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes who are unable to achieve glycemic control with diet and exercise alone or who require additional therapy to manage their condition.

While it can be effective in managing blood sugar levels, it is important for doctors to screen for binge eating disorder (BED) before prescribing weight loss medication to their patients. BED is a serious eating disorder that can have a negative impact on a patient’s health and their ability to manage their diabetes effectively. BED is also the most common type of eating disorder. It is worth noting that BED is often underdiagnosed and undertreated, which means that the actual prevalence of the disorder may be higher than what is reported in the literature. 

BED is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, which involves consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time and feeling a lack of control over eating during the episode. People with BED often feel embarrassed or ashamed about their behavior, which can lead to social isolation and a decreased quality of life. Many people with BED may not seek treatment due to shame or embarrassment about their eating behaviors, or may not be properly diagnosed by healthcare professionals who are not familiar with the disorder. Additionally, BED is often comorbid with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, which can complicate diagnosis and treatment.

The link between BED and type 2 diabetes is well established. Research has shown that people with BED are more likely to have insulin resistance, which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, people with BED are more likely to have poor glycemic control, which can increase their risk of complications related to diabetes.

Whilst these medications can be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes, but it is important for doctors to screen for BED before prescribing this medication. This is because the medication can have an effect on appetite, which can be problematic for people with BED. In clinical trials, Some of these medications have been shown to reduce appetite and lead to weight loss in some patients. However, for people with BED, this reduction in appetite can be problematic and may trigger binge eating episodes.

 A simple screening tool is the Binge Eating Disorder Screener-7 can be accessed here. Doctors can also screen for BED by asking patients about their eating habits and behaviors. If a patient is diagnosed with BED, their doctor can work with them to develop a treatment plan that addresses both their diabetes and their eating disorder.

Treatment for BED typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of psychotherapy used to treat BED. CBT helps patients to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to binge eating. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be used to treat BED.

In summary, while some medications can be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes, doctors should screen for BED before prescribing this medication. By screening for BED and developing a comprehensive treatment plan, doctors can help their patients manage their diabetes and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

We have immediate availability to provide psychological and dietetic treatment for BED. Please contact us to find out how we can help.

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