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Phentermine/Topiramate ER Reduces Binge Eating in Small Trial

May 08, 2018

NEW YORK CITY—The extended-release (ER) form of the obesity medication phentermine/topiramate is safe and effective for reducing binge eating, suggests a small study presented during a poster session at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

“This is the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of phentermine/topiramate ER for binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa,” wrote poster presenter Debra L. Safer, MD, and colleagues, in the abstract presented May 7. “Results can help inform the design of future, larger clinical trials.”

The double-blind crossover study involved 22 participants with binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa randomized to 12 weeks of treatment with phentermine/topiramate ER or placebo. After a 2-week washout period, participants received another 12 weeks of the opposite treatment.


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Compared with placebo, treatment with phentermine/topiramate ER provided an additional 9 days without binge eating during the previous month, researchers reported. From 16.2 objective binge-eating days over the past 28 days at baseline, participants dropped to 13.2 binge-eating days with placebo and 4.2 binge-eating days with phentermine/topiramate ER. Objective binge-eating episodes dropped by 11.7 with phentermine/topiramate ER treatment.

Rates of abstinence from binge eating were 64% after treatment with phentermine/topiramate ER compared with 14% after placebo. Participants reported no serious adverse events during the trial.

“Phentermine/topiramate ER was significantly more effective at reducing binge eating behaviors compared to placebo,” concluded Dr. Safer, along with coauthors Sarah Adler, PsyD; Shebani Sethi-Dalai, MD, MS; Jason Bentley, PhD; and Thomas Najarian, MD. 

—Jolynn Tumolo


“Randomized double-blinded crossover trial of phentermine-topiramate ER versus placebo to treat binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.” Abstract presented at: the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 7, 2018; New York, NY.

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