What is Topamax?
Topamax was originally FDA-approved as a seizure medicine, also called an anticonvulsant. Topiramate is used to treat seizures in adults and children who are at least 2 years old.
Topamax is also used with other medicines to treat certain types of seizures (partial-onset seizures, primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) in adults and children 2 years and older.
Topamax is also used to prevent migraine headaches in adults and teenagers who are at least 12 years old. This medicine will only prevent migraine headaches or reduce the number of attacks. It will not treat a headache that has already begun.
Topamax may cause vision problems that can be permanent if not treated quickly. Call your doctor right away if you have a sudden decrease in vision.
Topamax can increase body temperature and decrease sweating, which may lead to life-threatening dehydration. Tell your doctor if you have decreased sweating, high fever, and hot dry skin.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking seizure medicine. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
Do not stop using Topamax suddenly or you could have increased seizures.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Topamax if you are allergic to topiramate. You should not drink alcohol while taking topiramate..
Tell your doctor if you are sick with diarrhea, or if you have ever had:
glaucoma or other eye problems;
metabolic acidosis (high levels of acid in your blood);
kidney disease, kidney stones, or dialysis;
lung disease, breathing problems;
mood problems, depression, or suicidal thoughts or actions;
a growth disorder; or
soft or brittle bones (osteoporosis, osteomalacia).
Topamax can increase the level of acid in your blood (metabolic acidosis). This can weaken your bones, cause kidney stones, or cause growth problems in children or harm to an unborn baby. You may need blood tests to make sure you do not have metabolic acidosis, especially if you are pregnant.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking an anticonvulsant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Taking topiramate during pregnancy may increase the risk of cleft lip and/or cleft palate, a birth defect that can develop early in pregnancy even before you know you are pregnant. However, having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both the mother and the baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
If you take Topamax during pregnancy: The benefit of preventing seizures may outweigh any risks posed by this medicine. There may be other medications that are safer to use. Do not start or stop taking this medicine without your doctor's advice.
If you are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking Topamax.
Topamax can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about other birth control options such as an injection, implant, skin patch, vaginal ring, condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or contraceptive sponge.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of topiramate on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed a baby while you are using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risks.
How should I take Topamax?
Take Topamax exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Topamax can be taken with or without food.
Swallow the tablets whole and do not crush, chew, or break a tablet.
If you cannot swallow a Topamax Sprinkle Capsule whole, open the capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce or other soft food. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save it for later use.
Carefully follow the swallowing instructions for your medicine.
Topiramate doses are sometimes based on weight in children. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking Topamax, to prevent kidney stones or an electrolyte imbalance.
You will need frequent medical tests. If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using topiramate. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
Do not stop using Topamax suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Call your doctor if your seizures get worse or you have them more often while taking Topamax.
Store at cool room temperature away from moisture, light, and high heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can. Do not take two doses at one time. Skip a missed Topamax dose if your next dose is due in less than 6 hours. Call your doctor if you have missed more than one dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of topiramate can be fatal. Overdose can cause drowsiness, agitation, depression, double vision, thinking problems, problems with speech or coordination, fainting, and seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking Topamax?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or increased seizures may occur.
Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated in hot weather. Topiramate can increase body temperature and decrease sweating, leading to life-threatening dehydration (especially in children).
Avoid the use of a ketogenic or "ketosis" diet (high in fat, low in carbohydrates) while you are taking Topamax.
Topamax may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you.
Also avoid activities that could be dangerous if you have an unexpected seizure, such as swimming or climbing in high places.
Topamax side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Topamax (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Tell your doctor right away if you have new or sudden changes in mood or behavior, including new or worse depression or anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, more active or talkative, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a skin rash, no matter how mild;
dizziness or loss of coordination;
vision problems, blurred vision, eye pain or redness, sudden vision loss (can be permanent if not treated quickly);
confusion, problems with thinking or memory, trouble concentrating, problems with speech;
dehydration symptoms--decreased sweating, high fever, hot and dry skin;
signs of a kidney stone--severe pain in your side or lower back, painful or difficult urination;
signs of too much acid in your blood--irregular heartbeats, feeling tired, loss of appetite, trouble thinking, feeling short of breath; or
signs of too much ammonia in your blood--vomiting, unexplained weakness, feeling like you might pass out.
Common Topamax side effects may include include:
dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, slow reactions;
problems with speech or memory, abnormal vision;
numbness or tingling in your arms and legs, decreased sensation (especially in the skin);
changes in your sense of taste, feeling nervous;
nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
fever, weight loss; or
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Topamax?
Using Topamax with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or depression.
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
birth control pills;
divalproex, valproic acid; or
other glaucoma medications, including eye drops.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with topiramate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Topamax only for the indication prescribed.
Yes, topiramate (Topamax) has been shown to cause weight loss when used for both seizure control and migraine prevention. Topiramate by itself is not specifically approved by the FDA for weight loss, but is used in an "off-label" fashion for this condition. Qsymia, an extended-release medicine that contains phentermine and topiramate, is FDA approved for weight loss, along with diet and exercise. Continue reading
Topamax (topiramate) is approved to be taken alone or with other medicines to control certain types of seizures and for the prevention of migraine headaches. When taken twice a day, the medicine is usually taken in the morning and evening. When increasing your dose at the start of treatment, your dose may be taken only at night for one week. Follow your healthcare providers directions exactly. Topamax can cause drowsiness and dizziness, so do not drive or perform other hazardous activities until you are aware of its effects. Continue reading
Talk to your doctor first if you want to stop taking Topamax (topiramate), even if you do not have epilepsy. You should not stop taking Topamax suddenly unless your doctor has told you to stop.
Stopping suddenly may increase the risk of seizures or other withdrawal side effects. If you have epilepsy and you stop taking Topamax suddenly, you may have seizures that do not stop. Continue reading
Topamax is not classified as a controlled substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Topamax is an anticonvulsant (seizure) medication, but is also prescribed for other conditions such as prevention of migraine. It may causes side effects like confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. Know how Topamax may affect you before driving or performing other hazardous activities. Continue reading
Yes, topiramate has been shown to cause hair loss in studies, but it is not a common side effect. Hair loss (also called alopecia) has been reported in 1% to 4% of children ages 6 to 16 years of age, and in 3% to 4% of patients older than 16 years of age. Higher daily doses (400 mg/day) of topiramate were associated with greater rates of hair loss than lower doses (50 mg/day) in both age groups. Continue reading
You can usually stay on Topamax (topiramate) to help prevent your migraine headaches as long as the treatment is needed and remains safe for you. You and your doctor will decide how long you stay on treatment. This will be based on how well it is working for you and any side effects you may experience. Continue reading
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