Topiramate

Ease migraines with Topiramate on prescription

Topiramate is a prescription drug initially indicated for the treatment of epilepsy but is now also FDA-approved to effectively treat and prevent episodic and chronic migraines. Available in tablet, capsule or liquid form, the medication is usually most effective after a minimum of 1 month usage. Although it is not completely known how Topiramate works, studies suggest that it calms overactive nerve cells in the brain that trigger a migraine.

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30 tablets25mg$9.00
60 tablets25mg$10.20
90 tablets25mg$13.50
30 tablets50mg$10.20
60 tablets50mg$12.00
90 tablets50mg$13.50
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Information

Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD

Information last reviewed 11/24/19

About

What is Topiramate?

Topiramate is classified as an anti-epileptic or anticonvulsant drug. Originally formulated to treat epileptic seizures, it is now frequently prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. Having received its FDA-approval in 1996, it is available in either tablet or capsule form and sold under the brand names Topamax, Trokendi XR, Topiragen and Qudexy XR.

What is Topiramate used for?

In addition to treating epilepsy, Topiramate effectively prevents migraines and reduces the frequency at which they occur. However, it should be noted that Topiramate cannot treat a migraine headache that is already occurring.

While Topiramate is typically indicated for episodic migraines (less than 15 attacks per month), it has also proven effective for patients who experience chronic migraines (15 or more attacks per month).

How does Topiramate work?

The exact mechanism of how Topiramate works to prevent migraines is unclear.  Clinical research suggests that it reduces levels of abnormal or excessive excitability in the nerve cells within the brain that trigger the onset of a migraine attack.

Where can I buy Topiramate?

Topiramate is a prescription medication which cannot be purchased over the counter in the United States. Medzino offers Topiramate in 25mg, 50mg and 100mg strengths, in quantities of 30 to 90 tablets per month. We are able to offer first and repeat prescriptions to those who are seeking an effective treatment for frequent or chronic migraines. Our doctors will assess your symptoms through our online consultation service and subsequently individualize your treatment and dosage.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

The active ingredient in Topiramate tablets is topiramate.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Topiramate tablets are: carnauba wax, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, pregelatinized starch, purified water, sodium starch glycolate, synthetic iron oxide, and titanium dioxide. (Please note: inactive ingredients can vary between manufacturers).

Dosage

How to take Topiramate?

Topiramate should be administered orally, preferably at the same time each day.  Ideally, If you are taking the medication twice daily, you should take each dose 10-12 hours apart.  Topiramate can be taken morning and/or night depending on your prescribed dosage and is safe to take with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole with water – do not break, crush or chew the tablets as this will reduce efficacy.

Carefully follow the instructions on your prescription label and do not take more or less than the amount prescribed by your doctor.

How much Topiramate should I take?

For the treatment of migraines, the typical daily dose of Topiramate is usually not more than 100 mg daily administered in two separate 50mg doses. Some users may experience relief from a dose as little as 25 mg or 50 mg per day, while others may have to take up to 200 mg. The recommended dosage will be dependent on your medical history as well as your response to the medication.

To reduce the risk of side-effects, your doctor may start you off on a low dose to be taken once daily at bedtime.  The dose may be gradually increased and then taken twice daily if needed. 

It is important to take Topiramate consistently for the prescribed length of time, as it can take several weeks or months to determine the optimum dose, and gain full benefit from the medication. Always tell your doctor if your migraine symptoms persist or worsen despite taking Topiramate.

How long should I take Topiramate for?

You will usually need to take Topiramate for 1 month to experience a reduction in migraine attacks; however, it can take up to 3 months for the medication to have full effect. For most patients, Topiramate is safe to take for several months or even years. Your doctor may advise you to take it on a long-term basis in order to keep your condition under control.

What if I forget to take Topiramate?

If you forget to take your Topiramate, take it as soon as you remember. However, if your next scheduled dose is in less than 8 hours, skip the missed dose and wait until your next dose is due. Do not take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

What if I take too much Topiramate?

Inform your doctor immediately if you have taken too much Topiramate. An overdose can lead to serious side-effects, including:

  • Feeling dizzy and/or sleepy
  • Difficulty talking
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in normal behaviour and/or feeling confused

Topiramate dosage

The initial dose is 25mg daily.  The dose can be increased by 25mg each week based on response, usually up to 100mg/day. The maximum dose is 200mg/day, but this may come with more side effects.

Side Effects

What side effects can occur with Topiramate?

Occurring in more than 1 in 100 people, the most common side-effects from Topiramate include:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling sleepy, dizzy or tired
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Speech/memory difficulties
  • Tingling sensation in the hands/feet
  • Loss of appetite/ weight loss

The above side effects are considered mild and usually resolve as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, inform your doctor immediately.

More serious side-effects from Topiramate (occurring in less than 1 in 10,000 patients) include:

  • Blurred/reduced vision or eye pain
  • Pain in the back or stomach accompanied by a burning sensation when passing urine
  • Feeling faint
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Bone pain
  • Unusual bleeding/bruising

Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms or any other side effects that have not been listed.

Precautions

Be sure to drink plenty of water while taking Topiramate – preferably 6 to 8 glasses per day – as the medication increases the risk of forming kidney stones.

You should not drive or use heavy machinery when taking Topiramate, as it can cause drowsiness, dizziness or weakness.  Additionally, avoid alcoholic beverages and marijuana which can augment these potential side effects.

Topiramate can reduce sweating, making it more difficult for your body to cool down. While you are taking the medication, avoid exposure to heat and warm weather, and activities that can cause you to overheat, such as vigorous exercise or use of hot tubs and saunas.

Inform your doctor if you notice any negative changes in your mood or thoughts, including any suicidal thoughts while taking Topiramate.

If for any reason you decide to stop taking Topiramate, always consult your doctor before doing so.  Stopping the medication abruptly can result in serious complications. To avoid these potential complications, your doctor will reduce your dosage gradually.

Contraindications

Topiramate may be unsuitable or potentially harmful for some patients. In such cases, your doctor can often prescribe a safe alternative for treating migraines.  Always report the following to your doctor before taking Topiramate:

  • Allergies to any of the active or inactive ingredients in Topiramate
  • Any medications, both prescription and non-prescription that you are currently taking, including any vitamins or herbal supplements – particularly vitamin C or calcium supplements.
  • Any history of mental illness including depression or thoughts of suicide.
  • A history of metabolic acidosis, a condition where the body produces excess acid or is unable to properly expel it.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you are due to undergo surgery including any dental procedures.
  • A history of kidney, liver or breathing problems.
  • Eye problems, particularly glaucoma.

Drug interactions

Before taking Topiramate, it is important to inform your doctor of all other medications you are taking as it may decrease the efficacy of certain drugs and/or increase your risk for side-effects, particularly:

  • Hormonal contraception – Topiramate may reduce the effectiveness of products such as the pill, patch or ring, thereby increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
  • Products that cause drowsiness such as alcohol, marijuana, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, narcotic pain relievers or antihistamines.
  • Anti-epileptic medications
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Blood thinning medications
  • Medication for diabetes
  • Medication for heart problems or high blood pressure
  • St John’s Wort

Can I drink alcohol whilst taking Topiramate?

While serious side effects are unlikely to occur from mixing alcohol and topiramate, the combination can lead to drowsiness, dizziness and lethargy, and may impair both judgement and coordination. 

Are there foods or drinks I should avoid?

You are able to eat and drink as normal while taking Topiramate; however, if you experience nausea as a side-effect, stick to bland foods and try not to eat anything that is rich or spicy.

Treatment Options

Alternative Treatment Options

There are a number of different alternatives to Topiramate that can effectively reduce and prevent migraine attacks. Each one will work differently and produce different side-effects. Always consult your doctor to help determine the best medication for you based on your history and response to therapy.

When switching to a new medication, your doctor will usually advise you to start the new medication at a low dose while continuing Topiramate.  As you increase the dose of your new medication to the appropriate level, you should steadily decrease your Topiramate dosage before stopping completely. This process can take several weeks or months.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blocking medications (such as Propranolol) work by blocking chemicals in the brain that can constrict blood flow and trigger a migraine. They have proven effective in 60 to 80 percent of users, however, they are not  normally suitable for patients with respiratory or cardiovascular problems as well as diabetics.

Antidepressants

Certain antidepressants such as Amitriptyline can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines by affecting the level of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain. However, potential side-effects – which can vary between individuals – can make it difficult to comply with these medications; these may include weight gain, fatigue, constipation and dry mouth, among others.

OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox)

Administered by a doctor, Botox is injected into the muscles of the head and neck and has proven effective in preventing chronic migraines in adults. The procedure will usually have to be repeated every 12 weeks to sustain efficacy. Common side-effects associated with Botox include muscle stiffness and weakness, blurred vision and trouble swallowing for several months.

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. J, Rothrock, ‘Topiramate for Migraine Prevention: An Update’, American Migraine Foundation, 2019, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/Topiramate-migraine-prevention-update/, (accessed 11th May 2019).
  2. L.S., Minton, ‘Topiramate’, Migraine, Health Union, 2019, https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/topamax/, (accessed 12th May 2019).
  3. Medline Plus, ‘Topiramate’, Medline Plus, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2017, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697012.html#storage-conditions, (accessed 14th May 2019).
  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, ‘Topiramate’, NICE, BNF, 2019, https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/Topiramate.html#directionsForAdministration, (accessed 13th May 2019).
  5. NHS, ‘Topiramate’, NHS, Crown Copyright, 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/Topiramate/, (accessed 10th May 2019).
  6. Web MD, ‘Topamax’, Web MD, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-14494-6019/topamax-oral/Topiramate-oral/details, (accessed 11th May 2019).

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