Finding Relief from Migraine Headaches with Topamax

By: Heather Colman

It is not known how Topamax works but it is believed that the brain chemicals that cause seizures are altered by it. As well as being used in combination with other medications to control seizures, Topamax is prescribed for the prevention of migraines. It can also be used for other problems as well.

Be sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease, a history of kidney stones, liver disease, lung or respiratory disease like asthma, emphysema or bronchitis, or if you need to have surgery before taking Topamax. It is possible that you might not be able to take Topamax or need a dosage adjustment. Special monitoring is also possible in order to take Topamax. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding your baby, talk to your doctor first before taking Topamax since it is unknown if it will be harmful to an unborn baaby or pass through into the breast milk.

Take Topamax exactly as your doctor tells you. If you do not understand, ask the pharmacist or your doctor to explain the directions to you. It must be taken regularly to get the full benefit of it. It is a good idea to wear a medical ID to let people know you are taking Topamax in case of an emergency.

Even if your symptoms improve, talk to your doctor first before stopping Topamax. Seizures can recur if it is stopped. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, drink extra water or other fluids every day while taking this medicine. This will help to minimize the risks of such side effects as kidney stone formation and metablic acidosis, which is a decrease of one of the electrolytes in the body. Hot weather, vigorous exercise and illness that includes fever, vomiting and diarrhea also require extra fluids to be consumed.

It may be necessary to monitor your progress and watch for side effects with blood tests and other medical evaluations while under treatment. This will help the doctor know if the dosage needs to be adjusted or if you are not tolerating Topamax.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it unless it is too close to time for the next dose. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed dose, take only the dose that is scheduled. Though overdose symptoms are not known, they could include severe drowsiness, tremor, difficulty speaking, poor coordination and nausea.

Since Topamax can cause dizziness or drowsiness, driving or operating any kind of machinery should be avoided. Also avoid alcohol as it can increase the sedative affect and could raise the risk of having a seizure. Avoid high protein, low carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins diet because they could increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

The use of Topamax has been associated with high body temperature and decreased sweating. This is a potentially dangerous side affect, so avoid getting overheated during exercise and hot weather. Monitor your sweating and keep hydrated with plenty of water. If you notice that your body temperature is higher than normal and have decreased sweating, notify your doctor right away.

If you are going to have any kind of surgery while taking Topamax, talk to your doctor or dentist first. You may need to be monitored, have your doe reduced or taken off of it until after you are recovered from surgery.

As with any drug, there can be side effects with Topamax. If you notice blurred vision, changes in vision or pain in or around your eyes seek medical attention immediately. They could be the early signs of serious side effects.

Get to the hospital or your doctor for emergency medical attention if you have any of the following side effects: allergic reaction; this would include breathing difficulty, your throat closing up, lips, tongue and/or face swelling and hives. Other serious side effects are seizures getting worse, metabolic acidosis; this is a high acidity of the blood that can be detected in blood tests, irregular heartbeats, increased breathing rate and a decreased appetite are the major symptoms, decrease in sweating, fever, side or lower back pain or difficult or painful urination.

Less serious side effects are more likely and include dizziness, irregular back- and-forth movements of your eyes, nausea, weight loss, numbness, confusion, decreased memory, difficulty speaking, depression and agitation. There may be other side effects and you should contact your doctor to discuss them.

You need to be sure that you tell your doctor of all medications you are taking, prescription or over the counter, before beginning Topamax as there could be adverse drugs interactions. For further information on Topamax, consult your doctor or pharmacist today.

Disclaimer – The information presented here should not be interpreted as or substituted for medical advice. Please talk to a qualified professional for more information about Topamax.

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