Have you heard of topiramate for weight loss? You may ask your doctor about it and he/she may prescribe it to you off-label.
If you’re familiar with this drug, you might think that I made a mistake of using “weight loss” to describe this medicine.
What is topiramate? Is it for weight loss?
No, it’s not.
- It’s an anti-convulsant drug to treat epilepsy.
- It’s also prescribed as a treatment for migraine headaches.
However, topiramate is used for weight loss because of its ability to suppress appetite, thereby, allowing you to eat fewer calories. Suppressing your appetite is one of the side effects of this drug.
The result? Weight loss.
There are several studies conducted and have proven that this medicine could definitely lose weight.
That said, there are doctors who prescribe it for obesity. They even consider it as more effective than other weight loss drugs.
In fact, the FDA allowed topiramate to be used as one of the ingredients in a new weight loss drug. 1
[msg type=notice]Is it safe for weight loss? [/msg]
This drug shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although there are many users who would say that it’s an effective weight loss drug, you should check it with your doctor.
As mentioned earlier, it’s not a weight loss drug. Rather, it’s an anti-convulsant medicine that has a side effect of suppressing your appetite, so you’ll lose weight.
Some doctors would occasionally prescribe it off-label. Patients who are taking it can control their binging and craving, thereby, promoting weight loss.
It’s not clear yet as to how this drug is effective for weight loss.
However, scientists believed that the ingredients of this drug that help control seizures can also work to inhibit some brain signals that cause food cravings.
In terms of its safety, doctors don’t recommend it for long-term use. Apart from that, it has troubling, serious side effects.
That said, it’s not an ideal weight loss drug for patients with chronic eating disorders.
It’s only prescribed if other treatments have not shown positive effects. If you’re of normal weight, it may cause drastic weight loss.
For those who have taken it, they reported that their taste buds are now different.
Are you fond of drinking soda? The use of this drug will turn carbonated drinks as flat.
With their altered taste sensation, they no longer crave for unhealthy foods and drinks. This will ultimately cause significant weight loss results.
[msg type=notice]Who should only use topiramate for weight loss? [/msg]
Doctors may prescribe it to patients with a BMI of 30 or greater.
However, it is to be taken as part of your weight loss program. It will provide you with best weight loss results when you combine it with diet, exercise, and modification of lifestyle.
Before using topiramate as a weight loss aid, you must consult your health care provider first.
Since your taste buds are altered, you may lose appetite for solid food. That said, you can focus on juicing, soups or protein shakes.
When you consult your doctor about your appetite loss, he/she might just tell you that it would soon pass and that it was ideal.
After all, who does not want to lose weight, right? But you’re not in control of your body anymore, with this drug.
[msg type=fail]Topiramate for weight loss side effects[/msg]
No matter how effective this drug is as a weight loss aid or treating migraines and seizures, it can still lead to some eye problems. 2
And if they’re left untreated, they can cause permanent vision loss.
Another side effect will be an increase of body temperature that may result in fever. Some users may need to be hospitalized if this side effect occurs.
Acidosis may also occur causing you to feel tired all the time.
There will also be changes in your heartbeat and appetite. If acidosis is not treated, it could result in the formation of kidney stones, soft bones, etc. For that reason, it’s ideal that you take plenty of water and some fluids that can help in cleaning your kidneys.
Because it causes acidosis, you should stay away from high-fat, low-carb diet as it can only worsen the issue.
Some users also experienced suicidal thoughts. Their anxiety got worse.
Never mix it with alcohol as it will only exacerbate the drowsiness and dizziness effects of topiramate.
This drug will also slow down how you think and affect your motor skills. That said, you should never drive after taking this drug.
Tinnitus may also be experienced. Two percent of patients taking this drug reported experiencing tinnitus 24/7.
Dry skin is another side effect. If you’re experiencing it, try applying a vitamin E cream.
[msg type=fail]Topiramate’s effects on pregnancy[/msg]
This drug will make your birth control pills less effective. To prevent pregnancy, it’s ideal to use condoms to your birth control program.
If you took this drug and got impregnated, it increases your baby’s chances of developing a cleft lip.
[msg type=notice]Will you gain back weight after you stop taking it? [/msg]
It’s not known yet if the users of this drug who lost weight have also gained their weight back after they’ve discontinued using it.
Just like any other drugs, you must not stop taking it without first consulting your physician. It can do more harm than good.
And like other weight loss therapies, each person will respond differently to the same drug. For some, the appetite-suppressant properties of topiramate would take effect immediately.
Others, however, may need an additional dose to experience less hunger.
If your doctor prescribes it as a weight loss drug, it’s ideal that you use it in combination with dietary change, exercise, and adequate sleep.
[msg type=default]Who must avoid it? [/msg]
It’s not for patients with heart disease.
Women who are trying to get pregnant should not use this drug as it increases the risk of birth defects.
Topiramate for weight loss should be used with caution. The side effects of it should not be taken lightly.
If you’re taking it to aid you in losing weight, always remember that it’s just one of the tools for you to lose weight.
To achieve its best effects, make sure that you use it as part of your program for weight loss which will include diet, exercise and behavior modification.
- Hudson, William and Cohen, Elizabeth (July 18, 2012) FDA Approves new diet drug. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/17/health/fda-diet-drug/index.html?c=homepage-t
- Primack, Craig M.D. FAAP (April 18, 2012). A New Medication for Weight Loss. The Dr. Oz Show. Retrieved from http://www.doctoroz.com/article/qnexa-new-medication-weight-loss?page=2