Johnson &Johnson’s Epilepsy Drug Leads To Weight Loss

have announced that obese patients lost over 11 percent of their body weight one year after being treated with the company’s anti-epilepsy drug Topamax.The firm is encouraged to continue developing the medicine as a weight-loss medicine.Topamax is currently approved only for treatment of epilepsy, but the New Brunswick, N.J.-based firm is also conducting studies to test its efficacy for a variety of other conditions — including obesity, neuropathic pain in diabetics, to prevent migraine headaches and to treat bipolar mania.

Joe Scodari, a senior J&J research executive, told analysts at a meeting in La Jolla, Calif., that one of the most exciting new potential uses of Topamax is for obesity.

He said an 11 percent to 12 percent weight loss was seen in obese patients that took Topamax in an earlier clinical trial for one year as a treatment for epilepsy.

“I don’t know of any other product (drug) doing that,” he said, referring to the magnitude of the weight loss.

Epileptics who were not obese also lost weight in the trial, but less than obese patients, he added.

The company said the potential sales of Topamax for obesity were “huge,” but declined to speculate when clinical trials for the condition or for the other new indications might be completed.

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