What Is Topamax?

Topamax is prescribed alongside other medications and therapy to help combat the side effects of epilepsy. Know its effects, side effects, reactions......

Topamax is often used alongside other medications and therapy to help manage the outbreak of seizures. This medication can be used to help manage these symptoms but it cannot cure the underlying cause of the seizures or pain. This medication is known as an anticonvulsant. You will need to take Topamax regularly and this medication is intended for long term use. Your doctor will help you determine an appropriate dosing size to manage your condition as necessary.

Indications and Usage

Topamax is one of the brand names for topiramate. This drug may also be sold under the brand name Topiragen. These medications are used to help combat partial seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, and other symptoms of epilepsy. Topamax may also be used to help manage migraines and migraine symptoms. Topamax is offered as a tablet and a sprinkle tablet. If you are using a tablet you should take this medication without chewing, crushing or splitting the pill. Those using the sprinkle tablet will need to mix the contents of this pill with soft food such as applesauce, ice cream or oatmeal. Only mix your prescription with one spoonful of food to ensure that it is all consumed. Mix this dose right before you are going to consume it and follow up your dosing with a glass of water to wash down the medication.

Topamax Dosage

In most cases, doses of Topamax will range from 25-50 mg per day. Doses may begin at 25 mg per week and will be increased after a week if necessary to help control the patient's condition. Those using Topamax to help manage migraines instead of seizures may increase their dosing up to 100 mg per day as necessary.

Children using Topamax to combat epilepsy will be given 25 mg per day every night for 5-7 weeks. After this point, larger doses may be prescribed based on the child's size and tolerance. Children treating tonic-clonic seizures may be given 5-9 mg of Topamax daily.

Those with kidney problems may not be able to use Topamax. This medication increases the risk of kidney disorders including kidney stones. Talk this risk over with your doctor to determine if it is safe for you to use Topamax.

Topamax is in pregnancy category D which means that in most cases it is not safe to use this medication during pregnancy. Cases of cleft lip and cleft palate in the fetus have been known to increase with the use of Topamax during pregnancy.

Indications

Usual Dosage

Special Dosage

Epilepsy

50 mg per day in divided doses.

Children 2-10 will be given 25 mg per day for 5-7 weeks, which will be increased as necessary.

Partial Onset Seizures

25-50 mg per day in divided doses.

 

Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

25-50 mg for three weeks. This may be increased nightly as necessary.

Children may receive doses of 5-9 mg in two doses.

Migraines

25 mg per day for one week, which may be increased up to 100 mg per day.

 

Topamax Side Effects

The most common side effect of Topamax is unusual sensations in the body which occurs in up to 51 percent of users. These sensations include burning or tingling. Other common side effects include dizziness which occurs in 32 percent of users, fatigue in up to 30 percent, drowsiness in 29 percent, mental and physical slowing or delay in 21 percent, nervousness in 19 percent, upper respiratory infections in 18 percent, coordination problems in 16 percent, weight loss in up to 16 percent, loss of appetite in 15 percent, taste changes in up to 15 percent, confusion in 14 percent, difficulty with concentration in up to 14 percent and nausea in up to 14 percent of users. These side effects should get better over time, but let your doctor know if they do not or if they are severe enough to interrupt your ability to function.

Uncommon side effects, occurring in 5-13 percent of users include memory loss, diarrhea, speech problems, anxiety, sinus infections, changes in gait, insomnia, injury, viral infections, abdominal pain, weakness, indigestion, decreased sense of touch, joint pain, mood problems, sore throat, and back pain. These side effects are not usually dangerous, but you may wish to let your doctor know if they persist throughout your prescription cycle or if they get worse.

Rare side effects of Topamax include flushing, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, decreased sex drive, acne, ear infection, gastrointestinal reflux disease, sensitivity to the sun, blurred vision and urinary tract infections. The incidence of these side effects is not known. If you begin to suffer from these side effects, talk to your doctor about whether or not an adjustment of your prescription is necessary.

Some side effects are more likely to occur in children. If you begin to notice your child suffering from irritated nose, constipation, bruising, bronchitis, hair loss, increased salivation, aggressiveness or fever contact their doctor to determine whether or not they require an examination. Your doctor may inform you to adjust their prescription level if these side effects occur. Do not make any changes to their dosing without specific medical instruction to do so.

If you begin to suffer from depression, chest pain, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, fainting, vision problems, rapid breathing, decreased sweating, blood clots, suicidal thoughts, kidney stones or low blood pressure you may be having a severe reaction to Topamax. Contact your doctor right away to have an examination. Confirm with your doctor whether or not it is safe to continue taking Topamax at the level which you are currently using it.

Types of Side Effects

Symptoms

Common Side Effects

Uncommon sensations, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, mental or physical slowing, nervousness, upper respiratory tract infections, coordination problems, weight loss, loss of appetite, taste changes, confusion, difficulty concentrating and nausea.

Uncommon Side Effects

Diarrhea, memory loss, anxiety, speech problems, changes in gait, sinus infections, injury, insomnia, decreased sense of touch, viral infections, abdominal pain, joint pain, weakness, sore throat, indigestion, mood problems, and back pain.

Side Effects in Children

Irritated nose, constipation, bruising, bronchitis, hair loss, increased salivation, aggressiveness and fever.

Severe Side Effects

Depression, chest pain, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, fainting, vision problems, rapid breathing, decreased sweating, blood clots, suicidal thoughts, kidney stones and low blood pressure.

Rare Side Effects

Flushing, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, decreased sex drive, acne, ear infection, gastrointestinal reflux disease, sensitivity to the sun, blurred vision and urinary tract infections.

Interactions

Medications known to react negatively to Topamax include lithium, hydrochlorothiazide, metformin, atropine, bronchodilators, medication that treats the bladder or urinary tract, glaucoma medications and other seizure medications. You should let your doctor know about these or any other medications and supplements you take on a regular basis so they can determine whether or not any of your dosing requires an adjustment before you start using Topamax.

Talk to your doctor before using medications that make you drowsy alongside Topamax. This may include sleeping pills, narcotic medications for pain, sedatives, muscle relaxers, and cold or allergy medication. These medications may increase your risk of developing side effects to Topamax or increase the severity of side effects that you are already combating.

Topamax may cause blurred vision or impact your thinking and reaction time. Do not drive or do any tasks which require your full attention until you know how Topamax will affect you. Drinking alcohol while using Topamax will increase your risk of these side effects occurring.

Consuming a diet that is high in fat may increase your risk of developing kidney stones while using Topamax. Talk to your doctor about this risk to get advice on how to adjust your diet before you start your prescription.

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