Add-on topiramate reduces weight in overweight patients with affective disorders: a clinical case series
Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK
BMC Psychiatry 2005, 5:19 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-5-19Published: 7 April 2005
The weight-gain caused by many psychotropic drugs is a major cause for poor compliance with such medications and could also increase cardio-vascular morbidity among psychiatric patients. Recent reports have shown that the anticonvulsant topiramate causes weight loss in various patient groups. The drug has also shown effectiveness in open trials as a mood stabilizer in patients with affective disorders, but not in controlled trials in the acute treatment of mania. We used topiramate to treat 12 patients with affective disorders who had a body-mass index >30 kg/m2.
Topiramate was prescribed as part of our routine clinical practice, as an add-on medication, or as a replacement of a mood stabilizer. Patients' weight was recorded in 1 to 2 monthly intervals. Patients were followed up for between 6 and 12 months. The final dose of topiramate varied from 200 to 600 mg/day.
Topiramate was effective in reducing the weight in 10 out of the 12 patients. At six months the 12 patients had lost a mean of 7.75 kg (SD = 6.9 kg, p < 0.001) and at 12 months 9 patients had lost a mean of 9.61 kg (SD = 6.7 kg, p = 0.003). Three patients stopped the treatment: one due to side effects, one due to possible side effects, and one suffered a manic relapse and showed no sustained weight loss. There were no other clear changes in the course of illness of the patients.
The evidence of a strong weight-reducing potential of topiramate is indisputable and clinically significant. Topiramate could be considered in the treatment of bipolar patients who are overweight, or whose concerns about weight gain compromise their compliance with long-term prophylactic medication. So far there is no evidence that topiramate has anti-manic effect and it should not be used as monotherapy.