Being obese or overweight is one of the common complaints of many people. There are several factors that cause obesity such as unhealthy lifestyles and poor diets. With this, obese people are looking for ways to lose weight effectively to the extent of taking drugs that claim to help them lose weight.
Topamax, also known as Topiramate is a medication that is administered to prevent convulsion. This drug is used to treat epilepsy and is also given to prevent migraine. It can also help lose weight along with phentermine. In the same manner, Topamax is also used to treat bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.
In spite of its effectiveness to reduce seizures attacks, there’s no therapeutic evidence in terms of its mechanism of action.
In fact, there’s speculation that this drug can affect the calcium channels and voltage-gated sodium channels of the brain. It is also believed that Topamax can affect carbonic anhydrase isoenzymes, AMPA receptors and GABA receptors.
Does Topiramate Cause Weight Loss
As mentioned above, Topiramate is used as an off-label drug for weight loss. Many people have testified to its effectiveness, but it won’t work for some. This drug won’t give the best weight loss result when taken alone. But, it is one of the ingredients used in the formulation of Qysmia.
The anti-convulsant property of Topiramate can calm the nerve cells in your brain. Thus, binge eating is prevented which is the key to losing weight (1). It gives you the feeling of fullness as it suppresses your appetite.
How Does Topamax Help Weight Loss?
The deemed mechanism of Topamax to help weight isn’t supported by scientific proof. But, there are certain reports that taking this drug affects your taste buds, thus making some foods seem not appetizing. With this, you may avoid eating and eventually lose weight.
There are some factors that influence the effects of Topamax on weight loss.
- Appetite reduction
Many people taking Topamax experienced appetite suppression. It may be because it affects the reward center of the brain. It alters the processing of the rewards, thus people feel less hungry and experienced fewer food cravings.
- Hormone alterations
It is believed that this drug alters the level of hormones like leptin and cortisol. It’s because the drug may reduce the amount of leptin present in cortisol. When the level of leptin is reduced, an individual may feel less hungry. In the same manner, if the cortisol level is reduced, less fat will be stored in your body which is helpful for weight loss.
- Loss of taste
People taking Topamax as medication have been noticing that their sense of taste is negatively affected. That’s why it results in eating smaller amounts of food.
- Changes in metabolism
This drug may speed up your metabolism that may lead to losing weight
Topamax affects blood sugar levels and insulin which may result in ketosis. It is the state in which your body uses up the stored fat for energy and leads to losing weight.
- Reduced saliva production
Another theory studied about the effect of Topamax on weight loss is that it reduces saliva production (2). If this happens, you may experience poor taste that may affect your normal appetite and eventually lead to weight loss.
Who Should Use This Medicine?
If you’re thinking to use Topamax for weight loss make sure to study some specifications prior of taking the drug. If you want to lose weight decently, make sure to consult first your doctor. Your health care provider may prescribe Qysmia.
On the other hand, you can obtain the best results if you will take it along with modifying your lifestyle and diet as well as engaging in regular exercise.
Who Should Not Use This Medication?
This drug is not recommended for those who have a history or currently experiencing heart diseases, high blood pressure and suffers from kidney stones.
Likewise, pregnant women should not dare take Topamax as it may cause birth defects such as cleft lip ad palate.
Topamax Dosage for Weight Loss
Topamax is available in tablet and capsule forms (25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg). You can start with a low dose of 25 or 50 mg per day, twice a day with or without food. The truth is this drug is not for weight loss, but an individual may experience weight loss as a side effect.
However, there are instances when doctors prescribe this drug for weight loss. The dosage may start at 25 mg and gradually increase to reach the sufficient dose. The maximum dosage is 400 mg, but many people who have reached the sufficient dose notice that the weight loss effect stops.
It was reported that people taking between 100 mg and 200 mg daily have experienced effortless weight loss. Using this drug within such a dose range has lost at least 20% baseline body weight. With this, using Topamax for more than 200 mg may result in drastic weight loss.
Topiramate 25 mg for Weight Loss
As mentioned earlier, Topamax is prescribed for people experiencing seizures or epilepsy. The dosage starts from 25 mg and gradually increases to achieve the maintenance dose.
This is also applicable if you’ll use the drug for weight loss. It should be taken at night and once the dosage increases, it will be divided into two doses, one in the morning and the other at night. The 25 mg tablets are biconvex, round and white in color
- Topiramate 50 mg for Weight Loss:
The frequency of taking the 50 mg tablet is the same as the 25 mg tablet. Unlike the latter, the 50 mg tablet is yellow in color. You can continue taking this drug as recommended by your doctor.
Side Effects of Topamax/Topiramate
Like any other medication, Topiramate also has its side effects and the severity may vary from one person to another. If you experience any of the following side effects, consult your doctor immediately.
- Allergic reactions
Some people who take this drug experience allergic reactions like swelling of the lips, face, trunks and limbs. May also notice skin rash, hives, flushing, ulcers and blisters.
- Severe skin reaction
This may include Stevens-Johnsons syndrome, a severe skin reaction that is life-threatening. It is manifested by the separation of the upper and lower layer of the skin. Another is erythma multiforme in which red spots may lead to blisters.
- Eye problem
If you notice changes in your vision while taking Topomax you should see your doctor at once. This drug may cause maculopathy that affects the small spot of the retina called macula. You may experience high pressure in your eyes that may lead to glaucoma.
Common side effects of taking Topamax include diarrhea, drowsiness, tiredness, tingling feeling in the arms and legs, change in behavior or mood, changes in focus, slurred speech and clumsiness.
Although Topamax helps to lose weight, you should remember that it does not bear FDA approval. You should be aware of the possible side effects that you may encounter that’s why it is essential to consult first your doctor prior to starting it.
Use this drug only if recommended by your doctor to avoid possible life-threatening issues. Have a regular checkup with your healthcare provider while using it.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.