In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for topiramate sodium, trade name TopamaxTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Topiramate is an anti-seizure medication. This medication works by decreasing nerve signals in the brain. This process helps restore normal nerve activity.
Topiramate is used to prevent and control seizures. This medication is sometimes used to prevent or decrease the frequency of migraine headaches. Topiramate will not treat a migraine once it is occurring. If you already have a migraine, treat it as directed by your health care provider.
This medication is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.
Topiramate is usually taken twice daily, or as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with or without food. Take your dose with a full glass of water. This medication should be taken at evenly spaced intervals to maintain a constant level of medication in your body. Swallow the tablets whole.
Your dose is based on your condition and response to treatment. Your dose will be gradually increased over a few weeks to decrease the chance of side effects. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor first. Some conditions may worsen if this medication is stopped quickly.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- While taking topiramate, a small number of people may experience depression or suicidal thoughts. Let your doctor know if you or your family notice any unusual changes in your mood.
- Topiramate has been known to cause serious vision problems within the first month of therapy. If you notice any vision difficulties such as eye pain, blurred vision, or vision changes, please notify your doctor as soon as possible.
- While taking topiramate, your body does not sweat as much. In hot temperatures, the body may have a difficult time cooling itself. This may lead to heat stroke. Help prevent heat stroke while taking this medication. Avoid exercise in hot weather, saunas, or anything else which may increase your body temperature. Drink plenty of water.
- Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of topiramate, especially the decreased sweating. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist before starting this medication in a child.
- Infants born to mothers who are taking topiramate are at risk. This medication should only be used during pregnancy when the benefit to the mother is greater than the risk to the unborn baby. This medication passes into breast milk. Talk with your doctor before breastfeeding while taking topiramate.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking topiramate.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if topiramate is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often. If you currently take any hormonal birth control medication, both the topiramate and birth control effectiveness may be decreased. Talk with your doctor about this.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any history of vision problems, liver or kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, or a history of depression or substance abuse.
- While taking topiramate, you may feel a decrease in balance, dizzy, blurred vision, slurred speech, tremor, confusion, or a headache. This medication may also cause tingling in your hands and feet, some weight loss, and possibly a bad taste in your mouth. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any seizures, sudden tiredness, painful or frequent urination, blood in your urine, signs of infection such as fever or stiff muscles, or persistent abdominal pain or vomiting.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have a significant worsening of your mood or experience any suicidal thoughts.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.