What is Topiramate?
Topiramate is an anti seizure drug, also called as an anti convulsant. It is prescribed mainly as a standalone drug or in combination with other medications to treat seizures in adults and children who are above 2 years of age. Topiramate is also prescribed for preventing migraine headaches in adults. This drug may also be used for conditions not described here.
Topiramate is sold under various trade names, some of which are Topamax and Topamac (made by Johnson & Johnson).
Topiramate is used to treat seizures or fits in adults and children, either alone or in combination with other drugs. It is also used in the prevention of migraine headaches in adults.
How it works
Topiramate belongs to a class of medicines known as anti-epileptic drugs. It decreases the abnormal and excessive electrical signals in the brain that cause seizures or fits.
Important Information about Topiramate
Topiramate (Topamax, Topamac) is a FDA pregnancy category D drug. Pregnant women must not start or stop taking this medication without their doctor’s advice. This medication may cause cleft lip or cleft palate in the baby if taken during pregnancy. Topiramate may harm an unborn baby, but seizure during pregnancy can also be detrimental for both mother and baby. Let your doctor know immediately if you become pregnant while taking Topiramate. This medication can get into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby and hence Topiramate is not recommended for nursing mothers.
Topiramate has the potential of reducing the effectiveness of birth control pills. Hence, while taking this medication, an alternative form of contraception is recommended like condoms or diaphragm with spermicide.
Topiramate usage may lead to suicidal thoughts. This side effect may require you to undergo regular follow up checks by your doctor. You must notify your doctor about any new or deteriorating symptoms like mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, suicidal or self hurting thoughts, increased agitation, hostility, restlessness, hyperactivity (mentally or physically).
While taking Topiramate, if you experience a sudden change in vision or pain around or behind your eyes, seek emergency medical attention. The change in vision and pain may be an early sign of a severe and permanent side effect on your vision. Avoid stopping Topiramate medication suddenly without the advice of your doctor, even if you feel alright. Your condition may become worse with increased seizures if you stop this medication suddenly.
Before taking Topiramate
Keep in mind all precautions and points listed above before taking Topiramate anti convulsant medicatoin (Topamax, Topamac) and discuss them with your doctor for more clarifications. Before taking Topiramate anti convulsant medication, let your doctor know for safe use of this medication if you have kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, history of metabolic acidosis, osteoporosis or low bone density, asthma emphysema, or other breathing disorder, past episodes of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if you are allergic to other seizure medicines.
How should I take Topiramate?
Take Topiramate anti convulsant medication (Topamax, Topamac) strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Your doctor may occasionally change the dosage over several weeks or months to ensure proper treatment. Follow your doctor’s directions properly.
Take Topiramate along with food or you may take it without food as well. Swallow a Topiramate tablet whole, chewing or breaking it in your mouth will give you an unpleasant bitter taste. Make sure to have plenty of liquids while taking Topiramate as chances of dehydration are high while with this medication. This will also lower any chance of kidney stones or electrolyte imbalance. Inform your doctor if you have vomiting or diarrhea as this can lead to dehydration.
What happens is I miss a dose of Topiramate?
If you miss a dose and if it is not too late (more than 6 hours) since the schedule dose time, take the missed dose right away. However, you have to skip the missed dose if the time for the next dose is near. Taking two doses near to each can be dangerous.
What happens if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Topiramate, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose may lead to drowsiness, giddiness, agitation or depression, stomach or chest pain blurred vision, breathing shortness, fainting, or seizures.
Things to avoid while taking Topiramate
Topiramate may cause blurred vision and impact your thinking capability and reflexes which can make activities like driving difficult and intimidating. Be extra careful while indulging in such activities or keep them to minimum and do it when absolutely necessary while taking this medication.
Ketogenic diets which are prescribed mainly for epileptic seizures in children that are high in fats and low in carbohydrates can increase the risk of kidney stones when taken with Topiramate. Talk to your doctor about this.
Side Effects of Topiramate
Topiramate (Topamax, Topamac) like all medications may have side effects. Some side effects of this medication are dizziness, drowsiness, headache, blurred or double vision with pain around or behind the eyes, loss of coordination, slowed thinking, shaking (tremor), nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach. If any of these conditions persist for too long and deteriorate, seek immediate medical attention. A severe and life threatening skin rash is a possible side effect of Topiramate. Be on alert and lookout for this condition while taking this medication
Some people who take Topiramate are known to suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or any other mood or behavior based problems. Let your doctor know right away if you, your family member or caregiver witness any odd mood changes or behavior in you while taking Topiramate.
Topiramate Dosing Information
Topiramate dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, s**, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be fixed by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to obey your doctor strictly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
Certain medications like allergy drugs, sedatives, nar**tic pain killers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or anti depressants which cause sleepiness can interact with Topiramate by increasing the sleepiness caused by it. Let your doctor know if you use any of these medications. Also let your doctor know if you use any of the following interacting drugs: lithium, hydrochlorothiazide, diabetic medications like metformin, bronchodilators such as ipratropium, atropine, belladonna, benztropine, bladder or urinary medications such as darifenacin, solifenacin or others, glaucoma medications such as acetazolamide, or other seizure medication like carbamazepine, Topiramate, phenytoin, valproic acid or others.
This list of drugs mentioned here in this guide is not a complete one and there may be other interacting drugs. Share the list of all present medication which you may be using with your doctor. Never start a new medication on your own.
- • Do not take topiramate if you are allergic to it or to any other content in the medicine.
- • Avoid using topiramate if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
- • Doctor’s advice should be considered in case of patients with following history of disease conditions: liver or kidney problems or require kidney dialysis; eye problems or growth problems; blood- or body fluid- related problems such as metabolic acidosis.
- • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day while taking this drug, to prevent you from getting kidney stones.
- • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery when taking topiramate as it may lead to dizziness or vision problems.
Frequently asked questions
- Is topiramate safe in pregnancy?
Topiramate may cause harm to the fetus. Hence, it is not advisable to take it in pregnancy without consulting your doctor.
- Can I take topiramate for weight loss?
No. Topiramate is not indicated for weight loss. It is indicated for the treatment of seizures and migraine headaches. Please consult your doctor before taking the medicine.
- Is topiramate good for anxiety?
Topiramate is not indicated for the treatment of anxiety. Please consult your doctor before taking the medicine.
- Is topiramate safe?
Topiramate is relatively safe if used as recommended. In case of any side-effects, consult your doctor.
- Can I take topiramate with alcohol?
Topiramate may increase the depressant effects of alcohol. It is advisable to avoid alcohol intake while taking topiramate.
- Does topiramate cause acne, tiredness, weight gain, weight loss, itching, low blood pressure, or insomnia?
Yes. Topiramate may cause acne, tiredness, weight loss, itching, low blood pressure, or insomnia. It does not cause weight gain. If you experience any such symptoms, please consult your doctor.
- Does topiramate affect birth control?
Yes. Topiramate may affect the action of oral contraceptive pills. Please consult your doctor to confirm whether you require a secondary birth control measure while taking topiramate.