January 2, 2006

Topiramate Helpful for Bulimia

Topiramate helpful for bulimia


By Anne Harding Wed Dec 28, 3:22 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The drug topiramate, usually used as an anti-seizure treatment, can reduce bingeing and purging in women with bulimia nervosa and improve their quality of life, a new study shows.

The results are comparable to those seen with other medications used for bulimia patients, Dr. Marius K. Nickel, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health. Topiramate would be most suitable as a short-term treatment, he added.
"The most important agent is the psychotherapy," he commented.
Nickel of the Inntalklinik in Simbach am Inn, Germany, and his colleagues assigned 60 women with bulimia to 10 weeks of either daily topiramate treatment or inactive "placebo" treatment. The women, who were at least 18 years old and had bulimia for at least 1 year, kept weekly diaries of their bingeing and purging episodes.
Eleven patients in the topiramate group showed a greater than 50 percent reduction in their frequency of bingeing and purging, compared with one patient in the placebo group, according to the team's report in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
On average, patients on the drug lost 3.8 kilograms more than patients on placebo.
Patients given topiramate also showed a "much greater" improvement in health-related quality of life than those assigned to the placebo.
"The lowered impairment in social and occupational activities...and the significantly improved emotional well-being...indicate essentially improved health and social life," the researchers write.
While this study is the largest placebo-controlled investigation to date of topiramate for the treatment of bulimia nervosa, Nickel noted, it's still limited because of its small size and the fact that only moderate cases were included.
He and his colleagues conclude: "Additional research is needed to see if these results can be replicated and how long-lasting the benefits are. Studies including male bulimia patients and patients with more severe pathology are also needed."
SOURCE: International Journal of Eating Disorders, December 2005.


  1. My own personal experience leads me to think this is kind of a cop out of a study. Topamax, when take by a person without a seizure disorder most often causes extreme appetite loss. This would explain the reduction in binging and the weight loss. I took this drug (to counteract weight gain from another) and didn't like the way it affected me at all. However, having taken another drug that really caused me to lose all my appetite and made me really wound up and hyper (we are talking weight loss in the double digits in a week, I know that that is temporary fix.....one that lead to a big, big, BIG crash. Just my thoughts. This seems like a cheap way out. Of course you won't binge if you can't eat. I'd like to hear some information about healthy eating, if eating at all, and about long term viability and affects.

  2. I completley agree SL, although, I should reserve total judgment until hearing more about the study. That said, I too would rather hear more about healthy eating. I think this sounds maybe not like a cop out but an extreme situation for patients that are literally in danger and have to have a solution instantly - kind of like methydone.

    They do point out that psychotherapy is the most important component--which is good. I'd like to read more about this.

    This is great info to post. Thank you!


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