Metformin is a generic drug taken orally to combat Type 2 diabetes because it reduces blood sugar levels. Topamax is an oral brand-name drug most often used as an anticonvulsant to treat epilepsy, but it is sometimes prescribed to reduce obesity. The two drugs are sometimes combined in efforts to control or lose weight, and their efficacy together is supported by research. Consult with your primary care physician before combining any medications.
Metformin is a popular anti-diabetic drug, especially for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese people with normal kidney function, according to the “Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.” Metformin causes relatively few side effects and is associated with a low risk of hypoglycemia. Metformin also helps reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and may reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications related to diabetes. It was introduced in the United States in 1995.
Topamax is a brand-name drug based on the generic version topiramate. Topiramate is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat epileptic seizures because it deters convulsions, but it is also prescribed to prevent certain types of migraines and psychiatric disorders and to treat obesity. Generic topiramate became available in the United States in 2006.
Combining the Drugs
People with Type 2 diabetes are almost always overweight and frequently obese. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes because cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, which is a hormone secreted by your pancreas that shuttles sugar from the bloodstream to the cells so it can be burned for energy, according to the book “Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach.” People taking metformin to control their blood sugar levels sometimes combine it with Topamax to lose weight.
Combining metformin and Topamax may lead to increased weight loss and better blood sugar control. According to an Austrian study published in a 2007 edition of the “International Journal of Obesity,” obese Type 2 diabetics lost between 4.5 and 6.5 percent of their body weight after one year of combining the two drugs -- compared to just 1.7 percent in those patients who took metformin alone. Further, the patients who combined the two drugs showed significantly better blood sugar control. Common side effects were considered minor and included sensations of burning and tingling of the skin.
- Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties; Canadian Pharmacists Association
- Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach; Dee Unglaub Silverthorn and William C. Ober
- International Journal of Obesity: Efficacy and Safety of Topiramate in Combination with Metformin in the Treatment of Obese Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study