Topiramate is used to prevent and control seizures or epilepsy. This may also be used you prevent migraine headaches and lessen how often you get them.
Seizures occur because of sudden abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This condition is a symptom of a brain problem. When people think of seizures, they often think of convulsions in which a person’s body shakes rapidly and uncontrollably. Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and do not cause lasting harm. It is already a medical emergency if seizures last longer than 5 minutes. With a seizure, signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms may include:
- A staring spell
- Temporary confusion
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
- Cognitive or emotional symptoms such as anxiety and fear
Migraine headache is severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. It usually occurs on one side of the head. It is frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. It can last for hours to days and the pain may be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
Topiramate belongs to the class of drugs known as sulfamate-substituted monosaccharide anticonvulsants or antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). This acts on certain chemicals, channels, receptors, and enzymes in your brain. It is to help control seizures and prevent migraine headaches. This product is supplied as an extended-release capsule. Each capsule is available in the dosage forms of 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, and 200 mg for oral use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.
How does Topiramate work?
Topiramate works by preventing the fits through calming the electrical nerve activity in the brain. It works in different ways to achieve this.
This drug affects the activity of two neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. Topiramate enhances the action of GABA which is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural nerve-calming agent. This medication also lessens the action of glutamate which is a neurotransmitter that normally has a nerve exciting effect.
Topiramate also works by preventing sodium from entering the nerve cell. It is when they begin to fire rapid and repetitive electrical signals. This prevents the electrical signal from building up and passing on. All these actions help prevent fits.
The brain and nerves are made up of many nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical signals. These signals must be carefully regulated for the brain and nerves to function well. When abnormally rapid and repetitive electrical signals are released in the brain, the brain becomes over-stimulated and normal function is disturbed. This results in fits or seizures.
How to use Topiramate?
Topiramate is usually taken twice a day or as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may give you a low starting dose and slowly increase it. The prescribed dosage will depend on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Each dose may be taken with or without food. Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water. Do not break or chew the tablet. Swallow it as a whole. Take the right dose, not more or less. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. You should not suddenly stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while having this medication to prevent kidney stones from forming. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly.
What are the side effects of Topiramate?
Common side effects:
- Irregular movements of the eyes
- Tingling of the arms and legs
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in taste
- Weight loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood problems
- Weight gain
- Chest pain
- Dry mouth
- Hair loss
- Muscle spasm
- Urinary frequency or incontinence
- Urinary tract infection
Get emergency medical help if there are signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
Warnings and Precautions
- This medication may cause drowsiness and problems with concentrating and thinking clearly. If affected, do not drive or use any machinery that requires your alertness. Avoid drinking alcohol while having this drug as this is likely to make these problems worse.
- This product should not be recommended for use in adolescents and young adults.
- Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
- If you have a personal or family history of kidney stones, tell it right away to your doctor. This drug may increase the risk of kidney stones.
- If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
- You should be weighed regularly during treatment. Topiramate can cause loss of appetite and weight loss. If you are losing too much weight, your doctor may ask you to increase your food intake or prescribed you a dietary supplement.
- There may be a small increased risk of suicidal behavior in people taking antiepileptic medicine. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice if you start to feel depressed or you have any changes in mood.
- This should not be used to treat epilepsy in children less than two years of age. In children under 16 years old, this as well should not be used.
- Let your doctor know if you have any medical history especially of kidney or liver problems, osteoporosis, ketogenic diet, and a certain metabolic imbalance.
Topiramate should be used with caution in people with:
- A history of depression or suicidal thoughts
- Severe lung or breathing disorders
- Rare hereditary blood disorders called porphyrias
- High levels of calcium in their urine