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Is Topamax Good for Weight Loss? Facts About This Medication
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Is Topamax Good for Weight Loss? Facts About This Medication

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 14
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8 min

Weight loss is a time-consuming process that requires dedication, but are there any products that can speed up results? Topamax is a prescription drug that supposedly helps people lose weight. We explain what Topamax is and how it works for your fitness journey.

Topamax for weight loss

Prescription drugs aren’t the first choice for weight loss plans. Many people choose to exercise or go on a diet, but that might not work for people who suffer from seizures and migraines. 

Topamax is a type of medication suitable for people who are overweight and have epilepsy. It’s also been known to treat chronic pain and other brain disorders. 

You might be thinking – how does this drug help with weight loss? Does it really cause people to lose weight? Topamax can help you drop a few pounds, and we’re going to explain why.

Topamax (Topiramate) for Weight Loss – Does It Work?

Yes, Topamax has been known to cause weight loss in those taking it for brain-related problems. It doesn’t burn fat directly, but it may reduce your appetite and food cravings. Topamax can also strengthen your metabolic rate, leading to increased weight loss.

The FDA hasn’t approved Topamax for weight loss purposes, but people report seeing a positive drop in their body fat percentage. One of the main ingredients, topiramate, may suppress your appetite and encourage you to eat less throughout the day.

Is Topamax is a weight loss drug?

Consuming fewer calories can help change your body weight. Even though Topamax is not specifically a “weight loss” drug, doctors prescribe it to obese patients who struggle with binge eating. This may prevent dramatic weight gain from sugary and heavily processed foods. 

People who notice a significant weight loss from taking Topamax could have a stronger metabolism. Around 6–17% of people might lose weight on this medication, but that’s without a weight loss plan. Eating low-calorie foods and exercising regularly can boost your results.

Just be aware that you shouldn’t resort to Topamax for weight loss. Topiramate treatment was designed for seizure and migraine prevention. You might experience side effects, like suicidal thoughts and kidney stones.

What Is Topamax (Topiramate)?

Topamax is a prescription medication used to prevent migraines and seizures. Many people also take it for bipolar disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, and cluster headaches. You can take Topamax if you struggle with abnormal excitement in your brain. 

This FDA-approved drug works to prevent brain cells from going into overdrive. This can stop partial-onset seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome seizures. It can’t stop head pain once it occurs, but it may halt overactive pain signals from triggering nerve cells.

Weight loss isn’t a primary focus of Topamax, but it’s been known to naturally happen in those taking the medication. The active ingredient, topiramate, can suppress your appetite and prevent snacking. If your goal is to lose weight, speak to a medical professional about this.

Everyone needs to consult with a doctor before taking Topamax as it is a prescription medicine. This is due to the anticonvulsant ingredients that might be harmful to certain people. 

Why Is Topiramate Used for Weight Loss?

Topiramate medication can promote satiety by altering the hunger hormones in your brain. This keeps you full after meals and maintains weight loss from reduced snacking. Doctors usually give Topamax to obese patients who need a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Sometimes, Topamax is prescribed off-label to people who are overweight or have a binge eating disorder. This is to help them lose weight and feel healthier after finishing the course of medication. How much weight they drop can depend on their daily exercise and diet plans. 

Although Topamax might treat obesity, it can also strengthen the metabolism in people who have metabolic health conditions. A faster metabolism leads to your body burning more calories. This means your metabolism will burn fat for energy throughout the day. 

If you struggle to limit your food intake, consult with a doctor about taking Topamax. They can perform medical examinations to ensure you’re suitable for it. A medical professional might also prescribe you other weight loss medications that work best for your health.

Is It Safe to Take Topamax for Weight Loss?

Yes, Topamax is safe for weight loss purposes, but always look at the health risks before taking them. Not everyone reacts well to the active ingredients in this antiepileptic drug. Doctors only prescribe Topamax to people after checking their medical history. 

Certain groups might have an increased risk of developing health problems. Pregnant women and people with kidney disease, lung disease, glaucoma, osteoporosis, metabolic acidosis, or depression should speak to a doctor about the potential risks of taking Topamax.

To change your body weight, opt for exercise and dietary programs that specifically promote weight loss. It’s generally considered safe to take Topamax, but there are better ways to see physical results. A calorie deficit is probably better than consuming “weight loss” medications. 

Risk factors, like high blood pressure and oral congenital disabilities, might not be worth it to just lose weight. Only 3% of adults have adverse effects from Topamax, but that’s due to a higher dosage or health condition. Doctors will always ensure this drug is suitable for your long-term health.

Average Weight Loss on Topamax

People report losing over 22 pounds when taking 195mg of topiramate a day. This weight loss will depend on your dosage and how long you’re expected to be on Topamax. A reduced body mass index naturally happens a month into the course of medication. 

Those who took Topamax over four months lost 11 more pounds than groups in a placebo-controlled trial. A placebo or low dose might not suppress your appetite since it doesn’t contain topiramate. Moderate weight loss comes from a continuous dosage of Topamax. 

Weight loss results derived from Topamax are known to increase over long-term doses. You might start with 25mg per day until your body has adjusted. The physical changes may be slow to begin with, but after completing a higher dosage, you’ll notice differences in your body.

Just remember that you shouldn’t make Topamax a priority. Losing weight requires plenty of time and dedication. Perform high-intensity workouts to prevent weight gain after topiramate treatment, especially running, walking, swimming, or jogging exercises.

Best Time to Take Topamax for Weight Loss

You should take a Topamax capsule once a day in the morning to see weight loss results. This will ensure your body absorbs it properly during the day. Make sure to eat breakfast straight after taking the medication, as this prevents nausea, digestive issues, or stomach pain. 

Taking this medication at night could prevent you from sleeping. This is due to mood changes often associated with depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems. If you’re taking two capsules of Topamax, have one in the morning and evening to space out the doses.

Many adults have 23mg of topiramate once a day for two weeks and then move on to the 92mg dosage to see long-term results. Exceeding this amount could lead to a higher risk of serious adverse events. Talk to a doctor if you don’t experience weight loss after 12 weeks. 

Topamax Side Effects

Any form of medication can give you side effects from each dosage. Some people are naturally more prone to experiencing health problems. Before considering Topamax for weight loss, consult with a medical professional to weigh out the risks and benefits of consuming it.

Here are some common side effects of Topamax: 

Possible suicidal thoughts: Those who have depression or anxiety may experience suicidal thoughts from severe mood changes. A warning label on Topamax products often states this dangerous side effect, so it’s important to speak to a doctor about your mental health first.

Vision problems: Doses of Topamax can lead to eye disorders like acute myopia and secondary angle-closure glaucoma. This will cause blurred vision, painful eyes, or complete loss of eyesight. Doctors recommend booking an urgent appointment if you experience this. 

Birth defects: Pregnant women who take Topamax might increase the risk of cleft lip or cleft palate in their baby. This side effect usually happens during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you don’t want to get pregnant when on Topamax, use birth control pills to prevent that. 

Cognitive problems: Patients treated for bipolar and schizoaffective disorders may experience severe mental changes. This is the same for weight loss users who might have memory problems, slowed movement, difficulty concentrating, and speech or language issues.

Tingling in limbs: You might experience “pins and needles” in your hands or feet. This is a less serious side effect that will eventually go away. Some people have numbness in their face, too, depending on how much Topamax they’re taking for weight loss purposes.

Constipation or diarrhea: Topamax can trigger certain stomach-related issues that make your trip to the toilet very uncomfortable. It may stop you from passing stool or lead to loose, frequent stools. You might think this is weight gain, but it’s only bloating from the digestive gas.

Safe Way to Lose Weight 

A “weight loss” medication isn’t always the safest method to use when losing weight. Doctors usually suggest that obese patients go on low-calorie diets or exercise plans first. This can help them burn more calories throughout the day, leading to better physical changes. 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way to burn stubborn fat. You need to feel sweaty and worn out to achieve fitness goals. Consider going for a 10-minute run every day and build your way up from there. It’s always better to start off slow and feel comfortable exercising.

Diets are another great way of reducing sugary and fatty foods in meals. Taking 500 calories out of your maintenance calories will encourage your body to burn fat. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, fiber, vitamins, potassium, and healthy fats when going on a weight loss diet.

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A Word From Nutritionist

Topamax for weight loss is usually safe for many people, but it’s not the most sustainable long-term plan. You can’t take this medication for longer than 12 weeks if you don’t see physical results. It may be worth exercising regularly and trying a low-calorie diet to drop a few pounds.

Finishing a course of Topamax could also lead to weight gain when returning to your normal diet. Your body has now got a refreshed appetite that leads to regular snacking during the day. It’s better to find a comfortable eating routine without being on medication.

Doctors mainly prescribe Topamax for migraine prevention, controlling epilepsy, treating seizures, and reducing weight in overweight patients. This generic medication may sometimes treat bipolar disorder using off-label products, depending on the person’s mental health stability.

Always talk to a doctor before trying Topamax. You might react differently to the ingredients in high Topamax dosages. Medical professionals will run tests to determine if you’re suitable for losing weight on this drug. Stop taking it if you experience several adverse side effects.

Conclusion 

Topamax is known to be good for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean you should take it. 

High-intensity exercise and dieting are great ways to lose weight. Opt for cardio-based workouts or complete strength training classes at the gym. Professional medical advice will often tell you that this prescription medication is only essential for epileptic people.


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Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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