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Topiramate (Topamax) is a medicine that is usually used to
seizures or relieve chronic pain. This medicine is used to reduce the urge to binge in people who have
binge eating disorder. Topiramate also might help a person lose weight.
This medicine lowers some people's appetites. It
is not clear how topiramate helps with weight loss, but experts believe that it
affects brain chemicals called
Common side effects of topiramate
Topiramate has been linked in some people to a potentially
life-threatening condition called metabolic acidosis, which happens when there
is too much acid in the blood. Symptoms include fatigue, lack of appetite, and
rapid breathing (hyperventilation). If left untreated,
metabolic acidosis can lead to death.
In rare cases, topiramate may
cause serious side effects, such as:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a
warning on seizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The
FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people
who take seizure medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take seizure
medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a
Women who use topiramate during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of using this medicine against the risks of not treating your condition.
August 9, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
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