Published on November 4th, 2020 | by Sumit Bhowal


Seizure Medications that cause Weight Loss

According to the (National lung and blood institute, of Japan), there is a global rise in Obesity and Overweight levels. The rate is so high that in countries like the US and UK, it was found that more than 60 % of their populations were overweight.

This is a worrying trend, as being overweight or obese poses numerous health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and different types of cancers. You can read more about it at Weight Loss, Fitness & Health.

Below is a table indicating some of the health risks that are associated with obesity

Table i) Diseases associated with Obesity.

Disease Percentage
Gall bladder disease30%
Colon cancer12%
Type 2 diabetes60%
Coronary Heart disease18%
Breast cancer12%

As it was reported increased weight, gain also poses health risks. As outlined in the table below:

Table ii) Health risks associated with weight gain.

Weight gain (Kg)Disease Risk Increase
1Heart disease3%
7-10Ischemic stroke25%
7-10Type 2 diabetes98%
11-21Ischemic stroke50%
21 and aboveIschemic stroke98%
21 and aboveHypertension400%

From what the two tables indicate. Being Obese or gaining too much weight isn’t beneficial to the body. Hence the now-infamous need by the masses to lose weight, to avoid diseases and in essence stay alive.

Now there has been a possible breakthrough in the weight loss initiative. Some Seizure medications known as AEDs (antiepileptic Drugs) that were primarily issued to epileptic patients to manage seizures have been found to lead to weight loss. That is according to the numerous studies carried out.

The seizure medications that lead to weight loss are;

  1. Fellabamate.
  2. Topiramate.
  3. Zonisamide.


Felbamate, like an AED, has considerable toxicity. Its thus not administered to epileptic patients as a first or second-line therapy. With an exception to those with the Lennox –Gastaut syndrome.A severe form of childhood epilepsy that causes behavioural and developmental issues. It is available in generic form.

From the clinical trials and follow-ups done on patients to whom it was administered. The drug was associated with weight loss to a significant level.

A good example would be the Bergen study, done in 2001. In the study, 76% of the patients experienced weight loss. Some recorded loosing up to 4.2% of their body weight in less than 22 weeks. A positive sign considering how hard it is to shed off even 2% of one’s body weight under normal conditions.

Ben Menachem did another similar study. The results indicated that 95% of the patients who used the drug experienced considerable weight loss at about 3 % to 4 % of their body weight. Then, the only difference was that the loss was recorded after 23 weeks.


Generic name: Zonegran

Zonisamide is an anticonvulsant carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. It’s used as an adjunctive treatment for adult epileptic patients who experience partial seizures.

In clinical trials of epileptic patients taking Zonisamide, weight loss was consistently reported. In a random 3-month placebo-controlled trial, involving 200 patients who had partial refractory seizures, 20% of them lost 2.4 kg compared to the 10.5% on placebo.

A placebo-controlled test was conducted on 40 adults who were obese. The study was aimed at determining whether Zonisamide could qualify as a weight-loss drug. For 15 weeks, they were under a hypocaloric diet. The result indicated that adults lost an average weight of 5.9 kg.

Similar studies were done that compared weight loss between patients in the Zonisamide group and those in the placebo group. After 33 weeks patients in the placebo group recorded losing 1.6kg compared to the 9.1kg of the zonisamide group.


Also known as Topamax is also an anticonvulsant. Available as a generic drug.

Of all the AEDs Topiramate is the most associated with weight loss. Primarily prescribed to patients with migraines and epilepsy.

An open labelled study of refractory epileptic patients was conducted by Ben-Menachem, to assess’ topiramate’s effect on body weight.

Topiramate was offered to patients as an add on therapy; it was followed for a year with a 200mg a day median dose. Patients who had a BMI ≥30 lost about 6% of their body weight. The loss of weight was a result of reduction in body fat by about 22%.

It was however noted that obese patients recorded a reduction in food intake by about 420kcal, per day after undergoing topiramate therapy for a year. For non-obese patients, the reduction was approximately 22kcal a day.No evidence of changes in levels of thyroid hormones, or malabsorption was detected.

The research also found that the patient’s leptin levels were affected minimally.

From the numerous research studies and findings published. Seizure medications have been found to lead to weight loss. However, as with all medications, they too have side effects. Below are the side effects associated with each Aed (Antiepileptic drug );

Felbamate Side effects

  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred vision
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia ( difficulty sleeping )
  • Acne
  • Runny /Stuffy nose
  • Appetite Changes
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hiccups
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

Serious side effects include; pain in the ear, double vision.

Zonisamide Side effects

  • Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia )
  • Kidney stones
  • Rash
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Tingling and Numbness
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Irregular eye movements
  • Anxiety
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose

Serious side effects include; chills, intense back pain, rapid heart rate, blood in urine, Soreness in your throat and mouth, lightheadedness, difficulty concentrating, fever.

Topiramate side effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Sensory distortion
  • Confusion
  • Trouble with coordination
  • Feeling tired
  • Memory issues

Serious side effects include; back pains, groin pain, frequent urination, abdominal pains, suicidal thoughts, mood swings, and pain in the bones.

Considering all the available information. It’s critical to note that none of the above seizure medications, is a silver bullet for weight loss. They should be used as an add on to daily physical exercise and healthy eating habits. Try consulting your doctor, to see which one will be suitable for you, and what dosage you should take. To avoid developing health problems.

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