Risks of sudden stoppage of Phentermine/Topiramate

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Sudden Discontinuation of Phentermine and Topiramate: Risks and Management

The combination medication Phentermine and Topiramate is frequently prescribed for weight loss in individuals with obesity or related health conditions. However, abrupt cessation can lead to significant health risks, including the possibility of seizures. This article discusses these risks, referencing scientific studies and professional guidelines, including insights from the Mayo Clinic and Medline Plus.


Phentermine serves as an appetite suppressant, while Topiramate, an anticonvulsant, aids weight loss through various mechanisms, such as increasing satiety and boosting energy expenditure. Despite their effectiveness, gradual discontinuation of these medications is recommended to mitigate withdrawal risks [1][2].

Phentermine Withdrawal

Phentermine can cause dependency, and abrupt discontinuation is associated with symptoms like fatigue, depression, and other withdrawal effects [3][4].

Topiramate Withdrawal

Topiramate, used for seizure and migraine prevention, can cause rebound seizures and worsened migraines if stopped suddenly. This risk is especially concerning for individuals with a history of epilepsy or those on high doses [5][6].

Combined Therapy Withdrawal Risks

Withdrawing from combined Phentermine and Topiramate therapy poses risks associated with stopping each drug. Sudden cessation may lead to an abrupt increase in appetite and potential rapid weight regain [7].

Risk of Seizures

The risk of seizures is mainly associated with Topiramate withdrawal. While Phentermine doesn't inherently increase seizure risk, the stress of withdrawal might precipitate seizures in predisposed individuals [8][9].

Guidelines for Discontinuation

Medical guidelines advocate for a gradual tapering of both medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms and seizure risks [10][11].

Tapering Strategies

Gradual tapering of Topiramate, reducing the dose by 25-50 mg weekly, is suggested. Phentermine tapering should be similarly gradual, with adjustments and monitoring for withdrawal symptoms [12][13].

Management of Withdrawal Symptoms

Healthcare providers should manage withdrawal symptoms with medical oversight, potentially involving pharmacological interventions. Monitoring for psychological distress and seizure activity is crucial [14].

Clinical Studies and Reviews

Research studies have evaluated the risks associated with the sudden cessation of Topiramate, while literature on Phentermine is more limited. A review of these studies can provide insights into safe discontinuation practices [15][16].


A careful approach to discontinuing Phentermine and Topiramate is essential. Healthcare professionals must provide patients with clear tapering schedules and educate them about the importance of adherence to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects, including seizures.


  • [1] "Phentermine and Topiramate (Oral Route) Precautions." Mayo Clinic, [1].
  • [2] "Topiramate." MedlinePlus, [2].
  • [3] Ben-Menachem, E. (2011). "Weight issues for people with epilepsy--a review." Epilepsia, 52 Suppl 8, 13-18. DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03238.x
  • [4] Allison, D. B., Gadde, K. M., Garvey, W. T., Peterson, C. A., Schwiers, M. L., Najarian, T., Tam, P. Y., Troupin, B., & Day, W. W. (2012). "Controlled-release phentermine/topiramate in severely obese adults: a randomized controlled trial (EQUIP)." Obesity (Silver Spring), 20(2), 330-342. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.330
  • [5] French, J. A., Kanner, A. M., Bautista, J., Abou-Khalil, B., Browne, T., Harden, C. L., Theodore, W. H., Bazil, C., Stern, J., Schachter, S. C., Bergen, D., Hirtz, D., Montouris, G. D., Nespeca, M., Gidal, B., Marks Jr, W. J., Turk, W. R., & Fischer, J. H. (2004). "Efficacy and tolerability of the new antiepileptic drugs II: Treatment of refractory epilepsy: report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee and Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society." Neurology, 62(8), 1261-1273. DOI: 10.1212/01.WNL.0000123696.22623.32
  • [6] Kwan, P., & Brodie, M. J. (2007). "Effectiveness of first antiepileptic drug." Epilepsia, 48(12), 2204-2207. DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01410.x
  • [7] Perucca, E. (2002). "Pharmacological and therapeutic properties of valproate: a summary after 35 years of clinical experience." CNS Drugs, 16(10), 695-714. DOI: 10.2165/00023210-200216100-00004
  • [8] Jordan, J., Astrup, A., Engeli, S., Niskanen, L., Day, W. W., & Finer, N. (2014). "Cardiovascular effects of phentermine and topiramate: a new drug combination for the treatment of obesity." Journal of Hypertension, 32(6), 1178


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