Thursday, July 16, 2009

Topamax Anyone - Part 3

Part One

Part Two

So I've been deliberating for the past month whether to start taking Topamax or not. I already take Lamictal and Fluoxotine (aka prozac). The Topamax option was introduced by a Nuerologist on account of my bad hand tremors.

It wasn't an entirely easy choice. As an obsessed photographer ridding my shaky hands would be miraculous. Add in the weight loss benefits, headache cure, will power booster and possible depression alleviator it had all the trappings of a magic bullet. Especially as I have a fresh prescription for Topamax from my P Doc.

But here's why I've decided against it.

From the authorative website Medline Plus
"Topiramate may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
  • numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • slowed reactions
  • difficulty concentrating
  • speech problems, especially difficulty thinking of specific words
  • memory problems
  • lack of coordination
  • confusion
  • nervousness
  • aggressive behavior
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • excessive movement
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • uncontrollable eye movements
  • extreme thirst
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • change in ability to taste food
  • swelling of the tongue
  • overgrowth of the gums
  • dry mouth
  • increased saliva
  • trouble swallowing
  • nosebleed
  • teary or dry eyes
  • back, muscle, or bone pain
  • missed menstrual periods
  • excessive menstrual bleeding
  • skin problems or changes in skin color
  • dandruff
  • hair loss
  • growth of hair in unusual places
  • ringing in the ears
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • difficulty urinating or pain when urinating
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
  • blurred vision
  • double vision
  • eye pain
  • worsening of seizures
  • slow heart rate
  • pounding or irregular heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • inability to respond to things around you
  • excessive tiredness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • intense back or side pain
  • bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
  • constant need to urinate
  • fever
  • chills
Topiramate may cause osteoporosis (a condition in which bones can break more easily) in adults and rickets (abnormal, curved bone growth) in children. Topiramate may also slow the growth of children and may decrease the final height that children reach. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking topiramate.
Topiramate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication."


  1. WillBeFine17 July, 2009

    mmmm... take a another pill for the side effects?

  2. Anonymous17 July, 2009

    Hi. Topiramte is the generic for Topamax. You say you have a script for topamax but your write about topiramate. There is a slight difference between generic drugs and brand drugs.

    I took topamax for 3 year for migraines. It did me very well. I weened off of it, then was suffering again, and tried the topiramate b/c it was now approved by FDA and cheaper. I had major side effects from topiramate in just 2 months. The worst was headaches and constant itching from the heat and water (I know sounds odd). I am now back on topamax and doing well. I am monitored every 2 months by my neurologist.

    Every drug comes with a long list of side effects. Sometimes some of us get affected by them, other times some of us do not. And we won't know till we give a try. In my case I was in bad bad pain. And topamax worked for me. Topiramate did not.

    Good luck to you.

    @leighfazzina (twitter)

  3. Thanks for your comment leighfazzina.

    I must disagree with you though: According to Medline Plus (a service of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) - the names Toprimate and Topamax refer to the same drug (

  4. A few months ago, I asked my pdoc to prescribe Topomax instead of another med because of the weight-loss side effect. He said it wouldn't be an effective medication for me.

    The list of side effects you wrote seem very similar to most meds. We all know that the side effects are risks just like the Lamictal rash that I worry about. At first, I refused Lamictal because the risk of the rash caused me a lot of anxiety at night but I've been on Lamictal for years now and it's the only med that actually helps. I hope you find the medication that helps you with the least amt of side effects.

    good luck!


  5. HI, I just got home from a recent trip to psych hosp. I am on topamax, apart from it being killer exepensive--I've called the company to see if I qualify for their program, none of those crazy side effects happened. I stay awake at night when I am manic, no shaking or anything. I was on Lithium and it gave me tremors from hell. I can't eat a thing though.

  6. Wow, I had no idea so many people were like me and on Lamictal.

    I love it.

    When I first went on it--wow, I became killer decisive. I left the appartment in search of food even before I realized I was hungry.

    So sweet.

    Good to hear there are so many alternatives, even if the side effects are scary. Aren't they all though.

    Very funny post. Love the blog, just found it.

  7. All the psyche drugs are poison. Lukily I've tried them all so they don't try to push them on me anymore. None of them worked, so they don't try to push them on me anymore. Topomax took the fizz out of pop. If you want to lose weight topamax will do it.

  8. T I T R A T E

    A decrepit Doctor name of Khilloran
    Who was dated and oh so borin
    He never learnt to titrate
    When prescribing Topiramate
    So now I'm dumb as a Californian

  9. Hello. Thank you for your site that I just discovered.

    Topamax, for me, was a terrible. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I ended up losing weight (which I didn't mind), but ended up being severely manic to serious paranoid delusions.

    I was quite traumatized by the whole experience. As a result, I settled for my old medication for a couple of years, which kept me sedated & not participating in life.

    I am happy to find information about Lamictal, which I am switching over slowly, and have had some unfortunate side effects.

    Whatever you decide, titrate your meds slowly.

    Best of luck & stay close to people who can give you an outside perspective on how they think you are doing on a new drug.


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