Topamax Weight Loss
Among the possible side effects of Topamax, weight loss is one of the most common. In clinical studies, weight loss was reported in up to 16 percent of adults and up to 21 percent of children. Because of this potential side effect, Topamax is occasionally prescribed "off-label" as a weight loss medicine.
Topamax and Weight Loss: An Overview
Topamax® (topiramate) is a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches. There are a number of possible side effects of Topamax. Weight loss appears to be one of the most common. For some people, this may be a good thing. Healthcare providers do, on occasion, prescribe Topamax as a weight loss medicine. For a lot of people though, unintended weight loss can be a problem. For example, weight loss can be a problem in growing children.
How Common Is Topamax Weight Loss?
Weight loss is a common side effect of Topamax. In clinical studies, weight loss was reported as a Topamax side effect in up to 16 percent of adults and up to 21 percent of children. Although weight loss may be a desirable side effect for some children and teens, too much weight loss can be a problem for growing bodies.
Using Topamax for Weight Loss
Topamax is not approved as a weight loss medication by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, your healthcare provider may prescribe it for weight loss in certain situations. When used for weight loss, the use of the drug is considered "off-label." Off-label is when a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition for which the drug has not been approved by the FDA. Although the FDA regulates how a medication can be advertised or promoted by the manufacturer, these regulations do not restrict a doctor's ability to prescribe the medication for different conditions, in different doses, or for different lengths of time. The practice of prescribing medications for periods of time or for conditions not FDA-approved is known as "off-label" use. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a medicine for off-label use when he or she feels that the medicine is appropriate for your situation.
While off-label uses are very common, you should feel comfortable about asking your doctor if he or she is using a medication or combination of medications in a manner that is not approved by the FDA.
In general, Topamax is not considered a good choice for weight loss treatment due to common side effects, such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating. These side effects can make it difficult to tolerate Topamax. A few studies have shown that the medication is effective for treating obesity (especially in people with type 2 diabetes), but these studies generally concluded that the side effects were not necessarily worth the benefits.