Topiramate reduces nocturnal eating in sleep-related eating disorder

Sleep. 2020 Sep 14;43(9):zsaa060. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsaa060.


Study objectives: Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is a parasomnia characterized by partial arousals from sleep with compulsive consumption of food with impaired level of awareness and memory for the event. Small case series' have demonstrated efficacy of topiramate in SRED. We conducted a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of topiramate to assess efficacy in SRED.

Methods: Thirty-four participants with an ICSD-2/ICSD-3 diagnosis of SRED with >6 months of symptoms and ≥3 sleep-related eating episodes per week were randomized to placebo or topiramate with flexible dosing to a maximum dosage of 300 mg for 13 weeks. Primary outcomes were percentage of nights with eating and Clinician Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I). Intention-to-treat last observation carried forward (ITT LOCF) analysis was conducted.

Results: Mean age was 39.5 years, 74% were female, with mean duration of sleep-related eating of 13.7 years. SRED symptoms were significantly reduced with topiramate (74.7% to 33.2% nights/week; n = 15) compared to placebo (77.0% to 57.4%; n = 17) (p = 0.035). There were significantly more CGI-I responders on topiramate (71%) than placebo (27%) (p = 0.016). Level of wakefulness (r = -0.49) and memory for nighttime eating (r = -0.58) at baseline predicted topiramate response. The topiramate group lost significantly more weight than the placebo group (-8.5 lbs vs. +1.0 lbs, p = 0.001). The most common side effects were paresthesias and cognitive dysfunction.

Conclusions: This first randomized controlled trial demonstrating efficacy for treatment of SRED supports preliminary data on the use of topiramate for SRED. Side effects were prominent for topiramate. Limitations include a small sample size and a high drop-out rate in both study groups.

Clinical trial information: NCT00606411.

Keywords: clinical drug studies; eating disorders; sleep-related eating disorder; topiramate.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parasomnias*
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Topiramate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Topiramate
  • Fructose

Associated data