Warning against Using Seizure Medication for Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, we’re always looking for the next best thing. But how far would you go to drop a few pounds? Take a look at this. Battle of the bulge is rising more than ever in our country, with no easy fix in sight. Americans are looking to dangerous alternatives to help shed off the extra weight. Topiramate is a prescription medicine typically used to treat seizures and migraines. And now, the same medication is being touted as the magic weight loss pill. With the possibility of extreme side effects like vision problems leading to blindness, extreme fever and suicidal thoughts, is taking dangerous alternatives to knock off extra pounds really worth it? (audience exclaims) Wow and here in our audience is Aracely. Welcome. Yes, I went to my primary care physician because I was running out of time, I had a time frame to lose 10% of my body weight so I can get bariatric surgery. He said, “Listen, it’s focusing on migraines and seizures” like you said, “but a lot of people are using it to lose weight. Would you like to try it?’ And I was like, “Yes please.” And he’s like, “Okay.” So I took it. But from day one, it was constant abdominal pain, nausea, extreme thirst, only water. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink anything but water in large amounts. Constant urination. It had me thinking very negative thoughts. Not suicidal, but just negative thoughts that were scary. So the trip to urgent care, to be clear, was actually when you were trying to come off of the medication because of the side effects? The side effects were so intense. I was convinced there something was wrong in my abdominal area. And so, I lost seven pounds in two weeks and I can see why. But I learned my lesson. Have you experienced side effects like this in the past with any other medications? No and I’m a person that takes medications because unfortunately, I do have health issues. Not like this. So I think for our viewers watching at home, as we pointed out, this is an FDA approved medication for seizures and for migraines. This is considered an off-label use of the medication because there has been some data that supports its use in people who are obese and have type 2 diabetes in terms of the weight loss. But in terms of the mechanism, the reason it works for the things it’s actually approved to work for, is we think it stabilizes some of the neuronal networks in terms of the way your brain signals. So it may be that the way it works better in obese people is people who’ve actually gained the weight from eating disorders like bulimia or binge eating. But there’s really no data in terms of people who are normal weight or very little bit overweight who are trying to drop a few pounds may have a much higher risk of a side effect profile. Or obviously in your case, Aracely, I know you had a terrible experience in terms of the mood, and the pain, and many of the known side effects of this medication across the board. Well, clearly, the side effects of this medication far were worse than any of the potential benefits you were trying to gain. I do wanna say that some people are taking it for epilepsy and things like that, and some people don’t have all of these side effects so if you are at home, definitely don’t just stop this medication if it’s appropriate for you. We’re just talking about this specific instance and we’re just saying that this is something you want to be very cautious of because everything comes with risks and benefits. So you just wanna make sure you understand those potential risks and benefits, but it is a very appropriate medication in some instances. It just didn’t work in this particular instance, unfortunately. But Dr. Mike you were-
Right. So talk to your doctor. Yeah, yeah that’s the bottom line. And Aracely, number one, we’re just so glad that you’re doing better and that you got over this bad experience and this hurdle, but we wanted to help, so we reached out to one of the best home meal delivery services. I’m talking about bistroMD and they’ve agreed to give you four months of a seven day program that delivers chef prepared meals right to your door. This is doing it the right way. We’re also hooking you up with four months of personal training sessions at South Bay Trainer. So Aracely, we’re gonna get you there. We wanna see you meet your goals, get healthy, and have you back on the show. Thank you, thank you. How do you feel? Do you have hope? Yes, thank you for having me. I just came on here wanting to help people not to take the medication. I didn’t expect it, I don’t really, I didn’t know. You deserve the help.
Thank you. Thank you Aracely for sharing your story. Okay?
Thank you.