Last Edited: April 16th, 2012

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Topamax (also known as Topiramate) is a medication used to treat seizures in people who have epilepsy or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is typically used as a last resort when no other anti-seizure medications have worked for the patient. Topamax is also used to prevent (but not treat) the occurrences of migraine headaches. This drug works by reducing the amount of excitement in the brain, which prevents seizures from occurring.

Dosage Instructions

Topamax is available in two forms: tablet and sprinkle capsule. Both are taken orally twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. The tablets have a bitter taste and should be taken whole. It is not advised to rush, chew or split them, as they can lose their effectiveness. The sprinkle capsules, however, can be broken and sprinkled over food or swallowed whole. If you choose to sprinkle them over food, you should swallow the entire mixture without swallowing and drink fluids afterward to ensure all medication has been ingested.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. However, do not take it if it is less than six hours before your next dose. Skip it and continue with your normal dosing schedule. Do not take more than one dose per day.

Important Information You Should Know

You may start off with a low dose of Topamax. Your doctor will monitor your condition and slowly increase the dosage as needed.

Topamax is used to prevent seizures and migraines. It will not cure them . Even if you feel better or experience side effects, continue taking Topamax until your doctor directs you to stop taking it. If you stop taking it suddenly, you may experience seizures. You will need to stop taking it gradually.

Special Precautions

Topamax does not work for everyone. Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:

  • Allergies of medicine
  • You are taking other medications
  • Kidney stones, alcohol dependency, depression, thoughts of suicide, diabetes, glaucoma, breathing problems, bone conditions, growth problems, or kidney or liver disease.
  • You are pregnant or taking birth control. Topamax can harm an unborn baby and make birth control less effective. Your doctor can suggest another form of medication or birth control.
  • You are having surgery

Topamax can make you dizzy or drowsy, so avoid driving and operating machinery until you determine how it affects your body. You may continue to have seizures while using Topamax, so avoid activities such as swimming, climbing and driving.

Topamax can also prevent you from sweating, so your body may be unable to cool down properly. Avoid heat and drink fluids.

While taking Topamax, you are more likely to develop kidney stones. They can be preventing by drinking more water. The recommended amount is 6-8 glasses per day.

It is important to know that Topamax can cause mental health problems. Let your doctor know if you experience irritability, depression, mania or thoughts of suicide.

Side Effects

Topamax can cause side effects such as cause numbness or tingling in the limbs, difficulty with concentrating or coordination, speech or memory problems, depression, confusion, anxiety, headache, drowsiness, gas, constipation, tongue, gums and mouth problems, hair loss, weight loss, sleep problems, skin problems and menstruation problems. Let your doctor know if you experience eye problems, worsening of seizures, heart problems, breathing problems, intense back or side pain, nausea, extreme tiredness or urinary problems.