Topamax (topiramate) is a medication commonly used to treat epilepsy and prevent migraines. However, it has also been used off-label for weight loss in some cases.
While Topamax may cause weight loss as a side effect, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and side effects of using this medication. Topamax can cause drowsiness, dizziness, changes in mood, and memory and concentration problems, among other side effects.
For a safer and more effective approach to weight loss, it is important to consider other weight loss drugs and consult a healthcare provider who specializes in weight loss programs, like Dr. David Nazarian, for a comprehensive weight loss program.
What is Topamax?
Topamax (topiramate) is a medication used to treat certain seizures and prevent migraines. It is an anticonvulsant that prevents seizures and reduces migraines’ frequency and severity.
Topamax is usually taken by mouth in the form of tablets or capsules. It is generally taken once or twice a day, depending on the specific condition being treated and the dosing instructions provided by the healthcare provider.
Safer Weight Loss Drugs (Topamax Alternatives)
Some tested and safe weight loss drugs can be used as alternatives to Topamax. However, no weight loss drugs are the alternatives to a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is a type of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which means it increases insulin production and decreases glucose production in the liver.
Ozempic is usually taken once a week by injection, either subcutaneously (under the skin) or in the thigh or abdomen. Check our Ozempic weight loss program and get a personal weight loss plan, including a balanced diet and activity routine.
Some people taking Ozempic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes have reported weight loss as a side effect of the medication. In clinical studies, people taking Ozempic had an average weight loss of 3.7% to 8.3% of their body weight over 1 year.
Wegovy is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obesity in
- Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or
- Adults with a BMI of 27 or greater who have at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
In clinical studies, people taking Wegovy had an average weight loss of 8.7% to 18.0% of their body weight over 1 year. Wegovy is typically combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) is a medication used to treat obesity. It is a combination of two medications:
- Phentermine, which is a stimulant that suppresses appetite, and
- Topiramate is an anticonvulsant that is also used to prevent migraines.
Qsymia is usually taken by mouth in the form of a capsule.
Some adults and children over the age of 12 who are obese, or some overweight people who also have weight-related medical conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, may find that Qsymia, in addition to diet and exercise, helps achieve and maintain weight loss.
Is Topamax For Weight Loss Effective?
Topamax (topiramate) is not primarily used for weight loss and is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this use. However, people taking Topamax for the treatment of epilepsy or prevention of migraines have reported weight loss as a side effect of the medication.
Topamax users may experience a decreased appetite, which can lead to weight loss. However, it is important to note that anorexia can also be a symptom of other conditions and is not necessarily caused by Topamax.
If you are taking Topamax and experience a significant decrease in appetite or unintended weight loss, it is important to inform your healthcare provider.
In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe Topamax “off-label” for weight loss in individuals who are obese and have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise alone. Off-label use refers to the use of a medication for a purpose other than that for which the FDA approves it.
Topamax Weight Loss Studies
In a review of studies published in Obesity Reviews, researchers found that people taking topiramate for epilepsy had a small but statistically significant decrease in body weight compared to those taking a placebo.
Topamax Weight Loss In Adults
Two dosing regimens were analyzed to evaluate the safety of topiramate (Topamax) for patients aged 16 and up when used alone (in isolation from other seizure medications):
- 50 mg/day and
- 400 mg/day.
Anorexia and a loss of appetite were two of the most common adverse effects.
About 6% of people on the lower 50 mg/day dose of topiramate lost weight, while 17% of people taking the higher 200 mg/day dose lost weight. In addition, 4% and 14% of patients experienced anorexia (lack of appetite), which may result in weight loss.
Adjunctive treatment with topiramate (Topamax) for seizure management in adults resulted in weight loss in 9 percent of those given 200 to 400 milligrams daily versus 3 percent of those given a placebo (an inactive pill). For kids, those percentages were 9% and 1%.
Topamax Weight Loss In Children
Topiramate (Topamax), a medication used to treat seizures, caused weight loss in 7% of children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 15 who used the drug. Seventeen percent of kids using the maximum dose (400 mg daily) lost weight.
There were no reports of youngsters (aged 6-15) experiencing anorexia (lack of appetite) in either of the two dosing groups.
Topamax Weight Loss Side Effects
It is essential to be aware that Topamax can have side effects, including:
- Drowsiness or dizziness: These side effects can affect your ability to concentrate and may make you more prone to falls or accidents.
- Nausea: Some people taking Topamax may experience nausea, which can be relieved with medication or by taking the medication with food.
- Mood changes: Topamax may cause mood changes, including feelings of agitation, anxiety, or depression.
- Memory and concentration problems: Some people taking Topamax may have difficulty with memory and concentration.
- Eye problems: Topamax may cause a decrease in the production of tears, which can lead to dry eye syndrome.
- Kidney stones: Topamax may increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Who should not use Topamax for weight loss
Specific individuals should not use Topamax or should use it with caution. These include:
- People with liver problems: Topamax is metabolized by the liver, and people with liver problems may be at increased risk for side effects.
- People who are pregnant or nursing: Topamax may be harmful to a developing fetus or a nursing infant.
- People with kidney problems: Topamax may more likely cause kidney problems in people with preexisting kidney disease.
- People who have allergies to topiramate or any of the ingredients in Topamax.
- People who have a history of mental health problems: Topamax may worsen mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
Can You Gain Weight After Stopping Topamax?
As weight loss is a reversible effect, there is a strong trend toward restoration of pre-Topamax body weight levels 6 months following treatment termination. Stopping Topamax suddenly could lead to weight gain if the person wasn’t making healthy lifestyle adjustments while on the drug.
The weight may stay there after the body’s appetite and metabolism return to normal. Maintaining weight reduction after discontinuing Topamax might be facilitated by making positive changes to your daily habits and routines.
While Topamax (topiramate) may cause weight loss as a side effect, it is not a safe or effective option for weight loss. The potential side effects of Topamax, including drowsiness, dizziness, changes in mood, and memory and concentration problems, make it a potentially risky choice for weight loss.
It is important to consider other weight loss drugs and consult a healthcare provider, such as Dr. David Nazarian, for a safe and effective weight loss program. A comprehensive approach to weight loss that includes diet, exercise, and medications as needed can be a more effective and safer way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.