From the Wall Street Journal:
In the unending quest for a miracle diet pill, Americans are trying an array of prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat a variety of illnesses. None of them have been approved as diet drugs — but for many, weight loss is a side effect.
The list includes drugs meant to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (Adderall and Ritalin), depression (Wellbutrin), epilepsy (Topamax and Zonegran), diabetes (Glucophage and Byetta), sleep disorders (Provigil), smoking (Zyban) and even opiate overdoses (Narcan). Often these drugs are used alone, but sometimes they’re taken in combination with each other or with popular weight-loss medications, such as phentermine.
The doctors who prescribe drugs off-label for weight loss believe they fill a void. “Obesity is a chronic disease — diet and exercise aren’t enough for long-term weight loss for most patients,” says Robert Skversky, a bariatric physician in Newport Beach, Calif. “Chronic diseases need drugs to keep them under control.”
Dr. Skversky uses a combination of drugs he adjusts for each patient — a drug cocktail usually consisting of phentermine plus antidepressants such as Prozac, antiseizure drugs such as Topamax or Zonegran, or diabetes drugs such as Glucophage or Byetta. (Ms. Krawczyk, who is one of his patients, takes Adipex, or phentermine; the antidepressants Wellbutrin and Celexa; and Topamax.) A combination of these drugs could cost about $100 to $200 a month or more, says Dr. Skversky.