Topiramate for Binge Eating Disorder

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Topiramate for Binge Eating Disorder

Topic Overview

Topiramate (Topamax) is a medicine that is usually used to control seizures. But recent studies found that it may be effective in controlling binging and reducing weight in people who have binge eating disorder and obesity.1

This medicine lowers some people's appetites. It is not clear how topiramate helps with weight loss, but experts believe that it affects brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

The Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) has not officially approved topiramate for the treatment of binge eating disorder, but the medicine is sometimes prescribed to treat binge eating disorder. This is called an unlabelled use of the medicine.

Side effects usually are temporary but can include:

  • Sleepiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Nervousness.
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention.
  • Problems with speech.
  • Memory problems.
  • Aggressiveness or agitation.
  • Changes in sensation, such as touch, smell, or taste.
  • Vision problems, such as blurred or double vision.

Topiramate can cause other rare side effects, including:

  • Changes in blood chemistry. If you take this medicine, you may need periodic tests of the bicarbonate levels in your blood.
  • Vision problems and glaucoma (a serious condition that causes increased pressure inside the eye).
  • Decreased sweating and increased body temperature, especially in hot weather. This may be especially true for children.
  • An increased risk of becoming pregnant while using birth control pills.
  • An increased possibility of kidney stones.

See Drug Reference for a complete list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What to think about

  • You should not use this medicine if you are breast-feeding.
  • If you are taking this medicine, drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you are taking this medicine, call your doctor if you have blurred vision or eye pain.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. McElroy SL, et al. (2003). Topiramate in the treatment of binge eating disorder associated with obesity: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(2): 255–261.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Stewart Agras, MD - Psychiatry
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised October 28, 2009

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