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Treatment of Binge-Eating Disorder With Topiramate: A Clinical Case Series

J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61:368-372

Background: Reduced appetite and weight loss were found in clinical trials of topiramate for epilepsy. Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that are not associated with regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors. Overweight and obesity may be common complications. To explore the effectiveness and tolerability of topiramate in binge-eating disorder, we describe the response of 13 consecutive outpatients with binge-eating disorder to naturalistic, open-label treatment with topiramate.

Method: The response of 13 female outpatients with binge-eating disorder by DSM-IV criteria to naturalistic, open-label treatment with topiramate (100-1400 mg/day) was reviewed. Response of binge-eating disorder symptoms was clinically assessed as none, mild, moderate, marked, or remission. Weight and side effects were also evaluated.

Results: All 13 patients had comorbid Axis I psychiatric disorders along with binge-eating disorder and were receiving psychotropic medications at the time of topiramate administration. After beginning topiramate treatment, 9 patients displayed a moderate or better response of binge-eating disorder symptoms that was maintained for periods ranging from 3 to 30 months (mean ± SD = 18.7 ± 8.0 months). Two other patients displayed moderate or marked responses that subsequently diminished. The remaining 2 patients had a mild or no response. The mean ± SD weight of the 13 patients decreased from 99.3 ± 26.4 kg to 87.5 ± 20.4 kg (z = -2.4, df = 1, p = .02), but only 7 patients lost >= 5 kg of weight. The mean topiramate treatment dose was 492.3 ± 467.8 mg/day for all 13 patients. The mean topiramate dose was higher in patients who lost >= 5 kg than in patients who lost < 5 kg. Also, topiramate dose correlated significantly with weight loss (p < .01). In general, topiramate was well tolerated, with neurologic side effects the most common. Of 3 patients who discontinued topiramate because of side effects, 2 resumed the drug at a later date without significant recurrence of these effects.

Conclusion: Topiramate may be an effective treatment for binge-eating disorder. Controlled studies of topiramate in binge-eating disorder appear warranted.