The objective was to determine whether treatments with demonstrated efficacy for binge eating disorder (BED) in specialist treatment centers can be delivered effectively in primary care settings to racially/ethnically diverse obese patients with BED. This study compared the effectiveness of self-help cognitive-behavioral therapy (shCBT) and an anti-obesity medication (sibutramine), alone and in combination, and it is only the second placebo-controlled trial of any medication for BED to evaluate longer-term effects after treatment discontinuation. 104 obese patients with BED (73% female, 55% non-white) were randomly assigned to one of four 16-week treatments (balanced 2-by-2 factorial design): sibutramine (N= 26), placebo (N = 27), shCBT + sibutramine (N = 26), or shCBT + placebo (N = 25). Medications were administered in double-blind fashion. Independent assessments were performed monthly throughout treatment, post-treatment, and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups (16 months after randomization). Mixed-models analyses revealed significant time and medication-by-time interaction effects for percent weight loss, with sibutramine but not placebo associated with significant change over time. Percent weight loss differed significantly between sibutramine and placebo by the third month of treatment and at post-treatment. After the medication was discontinued at post-treatment, weight re-gain occurred in sibutramine groups and percent weight loss no longer differed among the four treatments at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. For binge-eating, mixed-models revealed significant time and shCBT-by-time interaction effects: shCBT had significantly lower binge-eating frequency at 6-month follow-up but the treatments did not differ significantly at any other time point. Demographic factors did not significantly predict or moderate clinical outcomes. Our findings suggest that pure self-help CBT and sibutramine did not show long-term effectiveness relative to placebo for treating BED in racially/ethnically diverse obese patients in primary care. Overall, the treatments differed little with respect to binge-eating and associated outcomes. Sibutramine was associated with significantly greater acute weight loss than placebo and the observed weight-regain following discontinuation of medication suggests that anti-obesity medications need to be continued for weight loss maintenance. Demographic factors did not predict/moderate clinical outcomes in this diverse patient group.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01 DK073542 . Dr. Grilo was also supported by NIH grant K24 DK070052 . Dr. Barnes was also supported by NIH grant K23 DK092279 .
- Binge eating
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Eating disorders
- Primary care
- Weight loss