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Updated on June 7, 2010
Topiramate (generic Topamax)
Topiramate (generic Topamax)

Topamax is a medication used to treat epilepsy, but is often used for migraines. Topiramate is the name of the generic Topamax. While many medications for migraines are taken at the onset of the headache, Topamax is taken daily to help prevent migraines.

Topamax is available in tablet and capsule forms. If the person has difficulty swallowing pills, the capsules are in Sprinkle form which allows the person to take the medication mixed with a soft food like applesauce.

A typical Topamax dose for migraines is 100 mg daily which is taken in two doses of 50 mg. The physician will usually prescribe smaller doses of 25 mg at the beginning of treatment. The Topamax doses are gradually increased during the first four weeks until the patient is taking two doses of 50 mg daily.

Migraine headaches are still not well understood by medical professionals. Some medical professionals believe that neurons, brain cells, get overexcited and react by sending pain signals. Another theory about migraines is that some of the tiny blood vessels in the brain become constricted for unknown reasons which leads to the migraine pain and other symptoms.

Another possible cause is a drop in the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, chemical messenger, between brain cells. Low levels of serotonin is associated with depression as well. A tendency to get migraines can be hereditary.

Topamax is not the only medication used to treat and prevent migraines. Even within the same family, two people may have good results with different medications. For example, I take Depakote since it is both a mood-stabilizer and helps prevent migraines. Since I have bipolar disorder, Depakote is the ideal medication for me.

My daughter has had excellent results with Topamax. She had tried Midrin which is a medication that contains acetaminophen, a mild sedative, and a chemical that constricts dilated blood vessels. Though Midrin works well for some people, it can be ineffective or even make migraines worse for others. Midrin did not help my daughter at all. This is a good example of how medications effect individuals differently.

Though I think people who are trying to find the right medication for migraines should be aware of Topamax for migraines, unfortunately, there's no guarantee that Topamax will be the right medication for any specific person. It can be extremely frustrating to have to try different medications, but working closely with the doctor to find the right medication often leads to effective migraine treatment.

Some people experience bothersome side effects of Topamax. For information about possible side effects of Topamax, please see my article: Topamax Side Effects.


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    • Emilia_Lamberto profile image

      Emily Lambert 6 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thank you for posting. I was prescribed Topamax for migraines two years ago. I experienced side effects such as severe mood swings, changes in taste, and tingling sensations in my hands and feet. I was also tired for the majority of the day. While I do admit Topamax worked to keep my headaches at bay, I'd much sooner agree to have a migraine than become the crazy person I was on Topamax.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Great information.