New Pill Combo May Speed Weight Loss

By Gary Pepper, M.D. Editor-in-Chief
We recently commented on how combining Symelin and a leptin-like drug caused more weight loss than either drug alone.

There is now evidence that combining two oral medications, bupropion (Wellbutrin) and Zonigran (zonisamide) can cause significant weight loss in healthy obese people. Zonigran is approved to treat certain types of seizures (epilepsy) and Wellbutrin is approved as an anti-depressant. Neither drug is approved by the FDA for use as an aid to weight loss.

In a study reported by Dr. Frank Greenway from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 55% of otherwise healthy obese individuals lost over 10% of their body weight over the 48 weeks of treatment with the drug combination. This is significantly more than with either of these drugs used separately.

Wellbutrin itself is known to cause some weight loss in doses used to treat depression, but in combination with Zonigran the effect was more pronounced and reliable. Anti-seizure medications besides Zonigran have also shown ability to promote weight loss. One such drug is Sabil (vigabatrin), which causes weight loss in rodents. A similar medication causing weight loss is Topamax (topiramate) also approved to treat seizure disorders. In fact recently the American Diabetes Association released a position paper reviewing the possible use of Topamax to aid obese diabetics in the treatment of their disease.

None of the drugs discussed in this article have been approved for weight loss by the FDA. Studies are underway in the U.S. and Europe to explore this possibility. Consult your physician before starting any medication or treatment plan.

Gary Pepper, M.D.

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