Epilepsy Home > Topamax and Binge Eating Disorder

Clinical studies show that people with certain medical conditions (besides epilepsy) can possibly benefit from Topamax. Binge eating disorder, a condition in which people eat unusually large amounts of food and feel their eating is out of control, may be treated with Topamax (although this is not an approved use of the drug). One particular study showed that the medication helped people with the disorder binge less often, lose more weight, and decrease their body mass index.

Topamax and Binge Eating Disorder: An Overview

Topamax® (topiramate) is a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches. Although it is not approved for this use, early studies have suggested that Topamax may be useful in treating binge eating disorders, especially in obese people.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Most of us overeat from time to time, and some of us often feel that we have eaten more than we should have. Eating a lot of food, however, does not necessarily mean that you have binge eating disorder.
Experts generally agree that most people with serious binge eating problems often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel their eating is out of control. People with binge eating disorder may also:
  • Eat much more quickly than usual during binge episodes
  • Eat until they are uncomfortably full
  • Eat large amounts of food even when they are not really hungry
  • Eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat
  • Feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

Topamax and Binge Eating Disorder Research

One study published in the March 2003 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested that Topamax is effective for binge eating disorder treatment. In this study, obese people with binge eating disorder taking Topamax showed greater improvement, compared to those not taking the medication. Those taking Topamax binged less often, lost more weight, and decreased their body mass index (BMI). On average, people taking Topamax lost about 13 pounds over 14 weeks.
(Click BMI Calculator to find your current BMI.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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