Bulimia Nervosa: 4 Questions to Ask

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(DGIwire) – At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S., according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Among the most prominent of these disorders is Bulimia Nervosa, which, ANAD notes, can originate from a combination of genetic, social and environmental factors. In light of its prevalence among the general population, it is worthwhile to know the basics about this disorder. Here are the signs and four things to know about bulimia nervosa.

  • What is Bulimia Nervosa? People with Bulimia Nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes, reports the National Institute of Mental Health. This binge eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating, such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise or a combination of these behaviors.
  • What are the warning signs of Bulimia Nervosa? Family and friends of someone with Bulimia Nervosa may notice several red flags, notes the Mayo Clinic, such as constantly worrying or complaining about being fat; having a distorted, excessively negative body image; repeatedly eating unusually large quantities of food in one sitting; not wanting to eat in public or in front of others; and going to the bathroom right after eating or during meals. 
  • Who is at risk for Bulimia Nervosa? According to the Mayo Clinic, factors that increase the risk of Bulimia Nervosa may include having siblings, parents or children with an eating disorder. In addition, psychological and emotional issues such as anxiety disorder or low-self-esteem—fueled by societal standards that emphasize strict stereotypes about body image—can trigger an individual to initiate the behaviors associated with the disorder.
  • What new treatments are being studied for Bulimia Nervosa? Opiant Pharmaceuticals has initiated a Phase 2 clinical study evaluating its novel nasally delivered opioid antagonist candidate, OPNT-001, as a potential treatment for Bulimia Nervosa. The study will enroll up to 80 patients in the U.K. who have been diagnosed with the disorder. The company expects to report topline data in the first half of 2018.

Focused beautiful young woman looking at herself in the bathroom“There is a strong need to develop new and more effective treatments for Bulimia Nervosa,” says Roger Crystal, M.D., CEO of Opiant. “We believe OPNT-001 has properties that could address the unique needs of patients suffering from this serious disorder.”

Crystal and his colleagues at Opiant believe that the compulsive bingeing behavior of Bulimia Nervosa has features in common with several addictions. This provides strong support for the use of opioid antagonists, working through blocking the reward from bingeing, and therefore reducing its frequency. The company is leveraging its expertise in nasally delivered opioid antagonists, which led to the successful development of NARCAN® Nasal Spray for opioid overdose, to address broader chronic addictions and related disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa.

“Those with Bulimia Nervosa—or who have friends or family members with the disorder—are eagerly awaiting better approaches than those currently available, and we are excited to be working on the front lines of research in this area,” adds Crystal.

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