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Epilepsy Drug Helps Weight Loss in Obese Adults

Once-daily zonisamide enhances diet and lifestyle counseling (Oct. 15)

A prescription medication originally developed to treat epilepsy may help obese adults lose weight when combined with routine nutritional counseling, according to a study published on October 15 in the online edition of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of zonisamide (Zonegran), an antiepileptic drug, for enhancing weight loss in obese patients receiving diet and lifestyle guidance. A total of 225 obese individuals without diabetes mellitus (134 women and 91 men) participated in a 1-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted from January 2006 through September 2011. The patients received daily dosing with placebo (n = 74), zonisamide 200 mg (n = 76), or zonisamide 400 mg (n = 75), in addition to diet and lifestyle counseling by a dietitian. The primary outcome measure was the change in body weight at 1 year.

One-year follow-up data were obtained from 218 patients (97%). The mean changes in body weight were –4.0 kg for placebo, –4.4 kg for zonisamide 200 mg (P = 0.79 vs. placebo), and –7.3 kg for zonisamide 400 mg (P = 0.009 vs. placebo). Weight loss of 5% or greater was achieved in 23 patients (31.1%) given placebo, in 26 patients (34.2%; P = 0.72) given zonisamide 200 mg, and in 41 patients (54.7%; P = 0.007) given zonisamide 400 mg. The corresponding numbers for weight loss greater than 10% were 6 patients (8.1%), 17 patients (22.4%; P = 0.02), and 24 patients (32.0%; P < 0.001).

The zonisamide groups had higher rates of gastrointestinal, nervous system, and psychiatric adverse events compared with the placebo group.

The authors concluded that treatment with zonisamide 400 mg once daily can enhance the weight loss achieved with diet and lifestyle counseling in obese adults.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, October 15, 2012.

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