Still pessimistic about weight loss drugs

Topiramate (topamax) is an anticonvulsant (treats seizures) that some use in weight loss combinations.  Remember the combination fen-phen, which turned out to cause permanent heart valve damage in some people?

Unfortunately, the Mayo Clinic warns:

The anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax). Normally used to control seizures, topiramate has also been found to reduce binge-eating episodes. However, it can cause serious side effects, including a numb, burning or tingling sensation, and trouble in thinking.

Now, the FDA warns of dangers to fetuses:

Topiramate Use During Pregnancy Increases Risk for Oral Clefts

The FDA recommends that pregnant women and women who may become pregnant should “discuss other treatment options” with their clinicians before starting topiramate.

FDA MedWatch alert (Free)



Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

One Comment:

  1. A new study in journal Lancet says that the phentermine plus topiramate combination promotes more weight loss (~25 lbs over a year) than a placebo.
    But side-effects are still seen:
    Patients in the treatment groups reported higher rates of insomnia, dizziness, dry mouth and funny taste, constipation, and paresthesia. In addition, a dose-related increase was observed in irritability, depression- and anxiety-related adverse events. Lastly, more people in the treatment group had impaired cognitive function.
    That’s why some people call Topamax “topadope.”

    The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 11 April 2011doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60205-5
    Effects of low-dose, controlled-release, phentermine plus topiramate combination on weight and associated comorbidities in overweight and obese adults (CONQUER): a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial

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