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Topamax is an anti-seizure medication that is also used to prevent migraines. It is also sometimes used as an off-label treatment for conditions such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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What is Topamax?
Topamax (topiramate) is an anti-epilepsy drug that has also been shown to help people lose weight. In one large study, people taking Topamax lost an average of 9% of their body weight, compared to those not taking the drug.
If you are thinking about taking Topamax for weight loss, it’s important to know that the drug is not FDA-approved for this use. Additionally, as with any medication, there are potential risks and side effects associated with Topamax that you should be aware of before starting treatment.
How does Topamax cause weight loss?
It’s not entirely clear how Topamax causes weight loss. One theory is that it may help to reduce hunger cravings by stabilizing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that plays a role in mood and appetite.
Another possibility is that Topamax may help to increase energy expenditure, or the number of calories you burn in a day. Research suggests that it may do this by inhibiting the reuptake of another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is involved in regulating heart rate and blood pressure.
It’s important to note that weight loss with Topamax isn’t rapid or significant for most people. For instance, one study showed that people who took Topamax lost an average of 2% of their body weight after one year, while those who took a placebo (a dummy pill) actually gained about 1% over the same period.
Who is a good candidate for Topamax?
If you’re overweight and haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, you may be a candidate for Topamax. The FDA has approved Topamax for use in people who are obese or overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater.
Topamax is also approved for the treatment of migraines and seizure disorders. If you have one of these conditions, your doctor may prescribe Topamax off-label to help with weight loss.
What are the side effects of Topamax?
The most common side effects of Topamax are:
Serious side effects include:
-extreme weight loss
How long does it take for Topamax to work?
It’s not entirely clear how Topamax works to promote weight loss. One theory is that it helps control hunger by reducing the activity of hunger-signaling hormones in the brain. It’s also thought to affect metabolism and how the body handles blood sugar and fat.
In clinical trials, people began seeing some weight loss within the first week of taking Topamax. The drug was most effective in people who were also making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising more.
Generally, people lose the most weight during the first few months of taking Topamax. Weight loss then tends to level off.
What are some tips for taking Topamax?
If your doctor prescribes Topamax for your migraines, there’s a chance you may also experience some weight loss. In clinical trials, up to 16 percent of people taking Topamax lost 5 percent or more of their body weight.
Here are some tips to help you lose weight while taking Topamax:
1. Follow a healthy diet. Eating healthy foods and reducing your calorie intake can help you lose weight.
2. Get regular exercise. Exercise can help you burn calories and promote weight loss.
3. Avoid overeating. It’s important to control your portions when you’re trying to lose weight.
4. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. These foods can cause weight gain and should be avoided if you’re trying to lose weight.
5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water can help you feel full and prevent overeating.
What are some alternative weight loss medications?
If you and your doctor decide that Topamax isn’t the right medication for you, there are many other options available. Here are a few other medications that are commonly prescribed for weight loss:
-Belviq (lorcaserin): This medication works by activating serotonin receptors in your brain that help you feel full.
-Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion): This medication is a combination of two drugs. Naltrexone works by blocking the feeling of euphoria you get from eating and bupropion is an antidepressant that helps to reduce cravings.
-Saxenda (liraglutide): This medication is a once-daily injectable that helps to decrease appetite and cravings.
-Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate): Like Contrave, this medication is a combination of two drugs. Phentermine is an amphetamine that suppresses appetite and topiramate is an anticonvulsant that also helps to reduce hunger.