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BMJ Group Medical Reference


This information is for people who have bulimia. It tells you about topiramate, a treatment used for bulimia. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We don't know. There's only been one small study so far, which doesn't give us enough information to know for sure if topiramate works. [92]

What is it?

Topiramate is a drug that's usually used to prevent seizures in people who have epilepsy. You take it as a tablet. The brand name is Topamax.

Although it's usually used to treat epilepsy, topiramate also seems to help keep people's moods stable. For people with bulimia, this may make it easier to avoid bingeing and purging.

How can it help?

One study found that topiramate helped people with bulimia to binge less often. [92] They also felt better about life in general.

The study looked at 60 women with bulimia. [92] They took topiramate or a dummy treatment (a placebo) for 10 weeks. The study found that, on average:

  • Women who took topiramate binged or purged about five times a week

  • Women who were given a placebo binged or purged about eight times a week.

When they were asked about how they felt, women who were taking topiramate were more likely to say they were healthy, happy, and getting on well socially. [92] Topiramate may also help you worry less about your weight and how you look.

How does it work?

We don't know exactly why topiramate works. The fact that it helps with bulimia was discovered by accident. It happened when women who had epilepsy and bulimia took topiramate to help prevent seizures. They noticed that their bulimia also improved while they were taking it.

Topiramate may work because it helps to stabilise people's moods. If you're feeling calmer or less anxious, you may not feel the need to binge or purge as much.

Last Updated: September 18, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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