What Is Topamax?
Topamax, which also comes in a generic version called topiramate, is a brand-name prescription medication that belongs to the anticonvulsant category of drugs. This medication, which is FDA-approved for certain uses, comes in two forms: a tablet and a sprinkle capsule.
Patients take Topamax to treat migraine headaches or seizures that may or may not be caused by epilepsy. While Topamax is only approved to ease migraines and epilepsy, it has also been known to improve the symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety, alcoholism, nerve pain, and more. When taken every day as prescribed, Topamax works by affecting nerve cells in the brain. This medication blocks the chemicals that can cause inflammation in blood vessels.
Topamax Side Effects
While Topamax certainly has its benefits, it may cause some mild or serious side effects as well. Mild side effects of Topamax, which can usually be managed at home and should subside after a few hours, include:
- Tingling in the body
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Slow reactions
- Trouble concentrating
- Impaired memory
- Speech problems
- Change in taste
- Belly pain
- Hair loss
Serious side effects of Topamax, which may require immediate medical attention, may include hyperthermia, high levels of acid, hyperammonemia, serious skin reactions, kidney stones, depression, suicidal thoughts, allergic reactions, or eye problems. Children who are prescribed Topamax for epilepsy or seizures are at a higher risk for fevers and sweating.
Do You Have To Wean Off Topamax?
When a patient starts their Topamax prescription, their doctor will likely start them at a low dose to see how their body responds. The dosage varies depending on the patient’s specific condition, body weight, age, etc. If someone decides that they would like to stop taking Topamax, they should talk to their doctor before they stop with the prescription altogether. They should be prepared to tell their doctor what symptoms they are experiencing and why they decided to quit the drug.
It is important that a person weans off if they stop using Topamax. They should not stop using the drug suddenly and should verify that their doctor approves of the decision. If someone stops using Topamax or changes their dosage suddenly, they are putting themselves at risk for severe seizures and withdrawal symptoms. A doctor will create a new dosage plan to help someone gradually get off of their Topamax prescription. This plan will require a patient to change their dosage and record how their body adjusts. An alternative may be required to effectively relieve symptoms of migraine headaches or epilepsy.
Using Topamax Responsibly
Topamax is designed to be used long-term to manage migraines and seizures. It should be taken as a single dose every evening until it is no longer needed. If someone misses their Topamax dose, they should take it if there is more than six hours until their next dose is due. If there are less than six hours, they should skip the dose they missed. Topamax should not be mixed with alcohol.
To learn more about weaning off prescription medication, give us a call at this number today 267.719.8528.