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I was wondering about the side affects of these drugs. I know that they are both known to decrease appetite and promote weight loss, and that Topamax can cause short term memory loss and fatigue.
I am not too concerned with the side effects of the drugs, more about what will happen if I should decide to discontinue them. I have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder, and I am scared that my habits will return upon going off the medication. I also have mild depression: that's what the Wellbutrin is for. It's also supposed to help me focus, counteracting the "blurry thoughts" that are expected from Topamax. If anyone has taken these drugs before, please give me your input! I don't want to regain any weight I lose, or my old eating habits!

edit: I am in therapy for my binge eating and depression.

18 Replies (last)

i take wellbutrin and have not had any issues whatsoever.  If I miss one I can totally tell though via my mood...

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i have been taking wellbutrin for more than a year. i did find that i lost 5-10 lbs when i started taking it. i'm taking it for chronic depression and it has helped some. i feel like i have more energy and i sleep less when i take it. keep in mind, though, that i'm taking 450 mg. most people i think take ~300.i had nausea for a few days when i first started taking it, but it went away pretty quickly.

i've had the depression for several years, along with some anxiety disorders, and am not going to stop taking it in the foreseeable future, so i can't help you there. i am also taking several other medications, and when i forget to take (all of) them for more than a day i start to have serious withdrawal symptoms. i don't think that this will happen to you because you are not on as many medications and probably are at a lower dosage, as far as i know. also, when you and your doctor decide to try to go off the wellbutrin, he/she will probably have you gradually decrease your dose so that if you do notice any kind of withdrawal it will hopefully be very mild.

i totally understand your fear though about having the bad stuff come back when you stop the medication. mine stuff has never really gone away on the medication, but it's less severe and i feel like i can deal with it better on the medication. my only suggestion is to make sure you're really ready when you decide to stop taking it and that you have plenty of support around you (doctor, friends, family, etc).

good luck! that's awesome that you are getting help though. that's definitely one of the hardest parts :)

I take 300 mg of wellbutrin to avoid depression and it's very effective for me.  I think my serotonin level is low and wellbutrin helps raise it.  I was prescribed topomax before surgery a few years ago.  I didn't like the way it made me feel although it did kill my appetite and I lost 10 lbs.(which I've since regained).   I couldn't keep taking topomax due to the headaches and mental confusion.  For me, it was a very powerful and scary drug.  I wouldn't take it again.   

To CWI above, Wellbutrin affects dopamine and norepinephrine, not serotonin, so it's likey the increased dopamine you're feeling.

To reply to BerriesandYogurts original questions, I've been on Wellbutrin for about a year and a half now. I currently take 300 mg of SR per day (200 in the morning and 100 in the evening). I had a lot of side effects in the beginning so my dosage had to be increased very gradually. It took me over six months to go from 100mg per day to 300mg. I now do not experience any side effects at all whotsever. The good news is that it really helps with my depression and anxiety. The bad news is that I do find my mood slipping by afternoon if I forget to take my 200mg in the morning, so I'm pretty much terrified to go off it. I took Lexapro in the past and going off that was hell on earth.

In regards to appetitie suppression, I don't feel any of that at all. I'm still just has hungry as always, if not more so than before. The first few weeks it did effect my appetite, only because it made me too jittery and nauseous to be hungry, but that is long gone. Although it does not suppress my appetitie, I have been able to lose about 50 pounds through exercise and counting calories while on Wellbutrin. I do think the Wellbutrin has helped me with that by controlling my depression. Before, I was way too depressed to work out and take care of myself properly.

I've never taken Topomax, so can't help with that. I hope the medicines help you, but please don't take them thinking that they will be a magic cure to help your BED or to help your appetite. You'll still have to work through those issues.


Original Post by berriesandyogurt:

I was wondering about the side affects of these drugs. I know that they are both known to decrease appetite and promote weight loss, and that Topamax can cause short term memory loss and fatigue.
I am not too concerned with the side effects of the drugs, more about what will happen if I should decide to discontinue them. I have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder, and I am scared that my habits will return upon going off the medication. I also have mild depression: that's what the Wellbutrin is for. It's also supposed to help me focus, counteracting the "blurry thoughts" that are expected from Topamax. If anyone has taken these drugs before, please give me your input! I don't want to regain any weight I lose, or my old eating habits!

edit: I am in therapy for my binge eating and depression.

I take both of these, and while I can speak to the side effects while taking them, I can't tell you what will happen once you go off them because i'm still on them.  They do say that the effects of Topamax only last for the time you're taking the drug, which is a big reason I decided to take it myself.  The side effects are pretty hairy and there was no way I was going to take it if they were going to affect me permanently.

You can expect to have a tremendous loss of appetite while on both.  You will most likely also experience drowsiness, and a tingling in your extremities at times.  I felt it in my fingers and lips mostly. 

I suffered from headaches before taking Topamax and found that they've gone away completely (except for my monthy PMS headache).  This is a known positive side effect and it's curious to me that someone actually got headaches from this. 

Yes, my short-term memory is terrible now, but the worst part of this is I feel sort of sketchy now.  I'm not as "clear-minded" as I used to be.  Known side effect and one that should go away once i'm off the med.  The sketchyness could be a combo of the Wellbutrin and the Topamax.  And it's hard to concentrate and focus on tasks now, it feels like what I think ADD might feel like. 

That being said, I went from a size 18 to a size 8 over the course of a year.  But i'm starting to gain again so i'm glad to see you need to deal with your overeating issues because the meds are a temporary fix.  They're only meant as a way to get yourself back to a place of control in order to be able to work on your issues.  I'm glad to see you recognize that.


I've taken both drugs in the past and pretty well like Wellbutrin, though was taken off of it when actively anorexic and due to the risk of seizures.  Topamax has earned the nickname, "dopamax" because it makes you, well, dopey!

I'd actually like to go back on Topamax because what I currently take, Effexor, has a um unfortunate side effect of loss of libido.

I take both drugs.  I have been taking Wellbutrin for 5 years, and Topamax for 3 years.  I lost 8 - 10 pounds when I began each drug.  They can be a helpful combination when you need them, but I would not believe the doctor's claim that Wellbutrin will offset the cognitive side effects of Topamax.  I have suffered from a loss of memory, loss of concentration, and an overall decline in intelligence.  What I have found most helpful in combatting the side effects of Topamax is sodium bicarbonate (usually 600 mg).  It stops my hands and feet from tingling, and I can drink soda again since I started taking it. 

It has been my experience that coming off of these pills is not easy.  I tried to come off of Wellbutrin once recently.  I tapered down slowly, being more conservative than my doctor thought was necessary.  Once I got from 300 mg to the 75 mg non-extended release pills, I became very emotional and could not deal with the side effects.  I cannot say for sure if this was withdrawal or depression returning that was treated with the drug.  I increased my dosage back to the 150 mg extended release pills, and I have been okay on that, although I have gained 8 pounds.  I am currently trying to get off of Topamax.  I am beginning to taper down from 100 mg to 75 mg.  A couple of years ago I decreased my dosage from 200 mg to 100 mg.  At that time I suffered from nightmares, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.  I am currently have nightmares and mild anxiety from decreasing my dosage to 75 mg. 

There is really a big difference between Wellbutrin and Topamax, and I would recommend Wellbutrin to anyone and encourage people to think long and hard before taking Topamax.  Sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects, and I think they did for me when I initially started taking it.  But, in all honesty, I didn't consider any other drugs because the doctor told me that Topamax had a side effect of weight loss, and that made it a winner to me.  Unlike Wellbutrin, Topamax's side effects don't go away over time (at least the major, cognitive ones don't), and I feel like new side effects begin to creep up over time.  I had to decrease my dosage from 200 mg to 100 mg because my eyes started hurting from Topamax.  I didn't develop any major eye problems, just eye pain that wouldn't go away until I decreased the dosage.  That happened after being on it over a year.  Now I have eye pain again at the lower dosage.  I thought the ADD feeling would get better over time, but I think it is getting worse too. 

Good luck! 

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I can't help you with the Wellbutrin, but I'm taking Topamax now although a relatively small dose. I do have the tingling in the extremities, and I had the fuzzy head and trouble concentrating for a while, but luckily that subsided after a few weeks or I would have had a real problem at work. I still have the tingling in the fingers and toes, but my thinking doesn't seem so sketchy now. Also I did notice a loss of appetite and rapid weight decline when I first began taking it, so I'm not really restriciting my calories now because I don't want to lose weight too rapidly, and it seems to be the only way to balance it out. That and simply making sure I eat, even when I don't feel hungry.

Original Post by berriesandyogurt:

I am not too concerned with the side effects of the drugs, more about what will happen if I should decide to discontinue them.

I can't give too much information, since I don't take either of those drugs...but I will say that if you DO decide to go off of those medications, please make sure to do so with a doctor's supervision.  It can be dangerous for someone with a history of depression to take themself off of meds without consulting a doctor.  It can sometimes cause some nasty withdrawl symptoms that can effect someone physically as well as emotionally.

Good luck with your therapy, and let us know how everything goes.


I take topamax daily, prescribed for my migraines. It was originally for strokes from what my doctor tells me. warned me of the weight loss and everything, but I have been taking it for about a year and I haven't noticed any side effects other than it prevents/nulls the intensity of my migraines. I would recommend it for a migraine medicine, but it hasn't had any weight loss effects on me...

P.S. yes, I was just a little dissapointed in that. haha.

OH and also, MAKE SURE you drink plenty of water while taking topamax. For me, it definitly makes me parched. My doctor said that it was very important to stay hydrated with it for proper kidney and bladder health as well.

And the tingly fingers were gone after the first few times I took it.

And it made soda taste kind of metalic to me at first as well.

I started taking topamax 4 days ago for migraines and appreciate all the info here on side effects.  I'm experiencing some already and am really getting fearful about continuing.  I'm only taking 25 mg/day with a plan to gradually work up.  I'm already experiencing the tingling extremities and strange tasting sodas - which I can deal with.  My concerns are with the mental fuzziness and the nightmares/nighttime hallucinations that cause me to be afraid to go to sleep.  Will these lessen with time?  I work in a very stressful environment and in today's economy, any lack of "sharpness", even if explained by the medication, could put me in line for the next position to be eliminated.  I can't take that risk.

Oh, and unfortunately, I'm not experiencing any loss of appetite.  I pretty much want to eat anything sweet that I can get my hands on.

Thanks, iheartjesus, for the reminder about hydration.  I know dehydration can cause confusion and fuzziness as well.  I'm going to go drink a bottle of water right now!

P.S. My doctor didn't tell me anything about this drug other than that it was the "in vogue" (yes, he did use those words) drug the neurologists are using for migraines.  The more I read, the more concerned I get.  Stupid me for not reading first, but I was in so much pain at the time, I didn't care.

I was on topamax for a number of years from the time I was 14 years old on - and oh my goodness, did it make me flighty. For a few months after coming off it I was still the same with the memory loss. I was worse than my mother and grandmother put together, I would put something somewhere, park the car, or what have you and when having to find it again, whether 2 seconds or hours later, I'd have no clue.  I haven't been the same as I was before it, but I think that's just from my brain not being used to storing that info after 5 or 6 years of not being able to do it due to meds.  I lost no weight on it, actually gained, but I was on a number of other meds too (Had a brain hemorrhage then a severe residual migraine issue that it was used to treat.)

I took Topamax and Wellbutrin for 10 years.  The Topamax did have serious effects on my ability to study and retain information..I also had a lot of trouble with word recall... I could never think of the word I wanted.. so after 10 years, I took myself off the Topamax (i was on the maximum adult dossage) and I feel MUCH better.. clear headed.  I now am taking Wellbutrin (300mg) and Prozac (80mg) and so far so good... ah but I had NO weight loss to speak of, in fact I gained weight.  And the Wellbutrin does give you a boost of energy. (Paxil made me gain a ton of weight.. I refused to take it after gaining 60 lbs).  Good Luck  Cinn

I was put on Topamax for migraines. It made me feel like a zombie, and feel very slow physically. I also had tingling in my hands and feet (like feeling like my limbs were falling asleep all the time). It also upset my balance. The worst side affect by far, however, was that my hair fell out. I lost nearly half the hair I used to have. It fell out in clumps. The side effects lasted for nearly 3 months and then I had to stop taking it because it wasn't getting better.

If you have been on Topamax for more than a couple months and you're ok with it then you probably don't have to worry.

I did lose a lot of weight without trying on Topamax. My eating habits didn't change, it was just like my body didn't absorb the calories or something. It was weird. I would get really shaky and have to eat, and usually eating high-fat and high-carb foods. Some of the weight came back but not all. But I didn't go on that med with the intent of losing weight, so that wasn't a big deal to me.

I feel a thousand percent better OFF the Topamax. That's just my experience, of course.

(Never taken Wellbutrin.)

I took Topamax for several years for migraines. I've been off it about 2 years.


I had many of the side-affects that people have mentioned:


  • Tingly extremities
  • Soda and other foods tasting different
  • Slurring of words
  • Memory loss/tough time learning new things
  • Impaired word-recall
  • Many times I couldn't remember if something really happened, or if it was a dream (this was the most annoying!)

I did, also, have weight loss. At the time, I was in college and fairly thin (apx 125-130 lbs). I'm 5'7" and eventually got down to 108 pounds without trying. I simply never remembered to eat and when I did, I didn't eat a lot. It wasn't good - I had to cut back on my dosage. After grad school, I had no money for prescriptions, so I weaned myself off. If you stop taking Topamax, you HAVE to reduce your intake over a course of weeks. If you stop suddenly, it may cause seizures (since it is, primarily, an anti-seizure medicine). I did gain weight because I actually had an appetite. However, I'm learning again how to portion control and eat better.


Bottom line: Yes, I gained weight back after stopping Topamax, but I would NEVER take that stuff again. I would much rather have migraines and be a little heavier than live in my murky brain while on Topamax. 


Just wanted to throw in my experience as well.

I really think the side effects depend on each individual person. I've been taking Topomax (generic Topiramate actually) for a couple months, now, and the worst I've noticed is just a frustrating bit of lack of recall when it comes to words. The tingling sensations have already started to subside (most people reported this going away, and it has started to for me), and soda does taste different, however I never really drank it in the first place. Memory loss, however, hasn't been an issue. I work in an environment where short term memory is key, and I haven't had a problem with it. I'm not in school at the moment, but I don't think lack of concentration has been too much of an issue either -- I've spent an entire day working on an art-related project without losing focus.

Appetite loss has been a big one for me, except around that TOM or the day before a migraine. I've lost 15 pounds since starting this medicine, which is alright by me since I've quite a bit of weight to lose...

I only take 100mg a day, split day and night. I'm taking it for migraines and it's reduced the amount I get in a month by three quarters, which is a huge improvement. I definitely haven't had enough problems with the medicine so far to stop taking it, but if it interferes with my school work come fall I'll likely wean myself off of it. So far so good, though.

Like I said, I honestly think it depends on person, even the dosage. Just thought I'd share my personal experience, since I know I did a LOT of research on the drug before I got up to my full dose. :D

I have been on Topamax (generic Topiramate) for over 6 months problem is COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR...

I started mixing it with Prozac (30mg/day) and Zanax (1mg-1mg/day)...I also had problems with PARTY DRUGS ABUSE since I was 18yo and a lot of social anxiety, depression and other symptoms...

I started Topamax with 25mg, then went to 50mg, then 75mg, then 100mg...

Last year, in September, after reading about side effects of psycho drugs and health industry conspiracy theories, I decided to slow down on medication....I was actually feeling a bit better too...

I was able to decrease Prozac to 10mg, Zanax to 0.5mg and Topamax to 50mg...per day...

Sexual impotence with Prozac was annoying me, so by November last year I had completely given up Prozac...

My problem was: I couldn't stop my compulsive behavior with party drugs, such as ecstasy and GHB....mixing those with MEDS is DEADLY!!! My mind is not well....depression increased, when I am not on drugs, I have social phobia, and so on...

Since NEW YEAR I haven't take any drugs....I went to a new doctor who recommended WELLBUTRIN 150mgs and he also told me to increase Topamax to 100mg.....

He changed Zanax to CLONAZEPAM, so I wouldn't be addicted to the same anxiety med......I am taking 75mg of it, everyday...

So, today it's: WELLBUTRIN 150mg, Topamax 100mg and Clonazepam 75mg, every's been ONE MONTH now....and my commitment to quitting drugs is full!! Here's my description of the side effects, so far:

- Loss of apetite for normal food (I've been eating junk food non-stop);

- Social phobia;

- Extreme depression (more than ever in my whole life)

- I am shaky, like never before...

- I feel like a zombie, I can't smile, or laugh, or look at people in the eyes...

- A feeling of despair...complete loss of hope...

- Suicidal thoughts (this is new...I've been thinking about death almost everyday);

I am seriously thinking about quitting TOPAMAX.....from what I've been reading here, that's the evil med......

I will contact my doctor right away...

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



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