How Long Do Topamax Side Effects Last?

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Allison Says:
I began Topamax a week and a half ago as a migraine prevention. I am experiencing random facial, hands, and feet numbness. Mental fogginess, dull headaches, and tiredness. For those of you who have had success with migraine prevention and have taken this medication for a long time: How long did your side effects last? I have heard only a few weeks. I'm not sure If I can deal with this constantly much longer. I am contemplating which is the lesser of the two evils side effects vs. migraines. I have lost 10 lbs. though. Any advice?

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Verwon Says:
I haven't used this medication, but what you are experiencing are normal side effects of it and I can tell you that in most cases, they start to taper off about 4 weeks, as your body adjusts to the medication.

Have you consulted your doctor about them, yet? If they are very severe or problematic, this might not be the right medication for you and you may need to try something else or have your dosage adjusted.


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I took 200mg TOPAMAX for 20 months for Bipolar I Disorder. It stabilized my moods & I lost weight. Then suddenly I became very confused & distracted. I experienced memory loss & great difficulty find the right words (this was most almarming for me as I've always had a large vocabulary), as well as spelling issues. It got so bad that I couldn't remember my daily work procedures which increased my anxiety levels to the point where I had to take a leave of absence from work. Two & a half years later (still unable to work) after several nuerological tests there is no other explanation. I stopped taking Topamax 2 years ago & I still have the same problems with memory. I personally will not take this or any other anticonvulsant or antipsychotic medication ever again. I have taken antidepressants (for more than 20 years) without any of these side effects. Be very careful about what you take. Take personal responsibility for your health & thoroughly investigate each medication for side effects & drug interactions ( I found out too late that 11.9% of the people that take Topamax experience memory loss, something my doctor failed to mention). Pay attention to any new symptoms & reactions you may be experiencing, then adjust or discontinue medication. You know your body better than anybody else, including your doctor, and you have a right to say 'no'. Keep searching until you find the right med at the right dosage that you can tolerate & pray for guidence. Doctors just make their best 'guess' at what 'might' work for you, while protecting themselves as much as possible from any's their 'job'. Your 'job' is to protect yourself from harm while facilitating the best possible course of treatment. Good Luck!

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Debi Says:
I just started taking Topamax (well the generic version) a week ago and have had terrible side effects too. Most notibly not sleeping. Under the advise of my dr I started taking my med in the am. I'm still on 25 mg and don't plan on increasing my dose until the side effects decrease. I may have to stop all together. I thought I was the only one suffering. Thanks for posting it's good to know I'm not alone.

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sissie Says:
For me Topamax was a nightmare,I went to the dr for fatigue and weight gain,he thought thyroid looked a little out of wack so on med for that which made me ache and feel bad,went back took me off thyroid meds,said he misdiagnosed me,put me on topamax for migraines 25mg to increase up to 100 in 4 weeks. I started having muscle pains,bottom of feet hurt,everything on me hurt,brain fog,memory lapse and the worst fatigue you can imagine. I felt like I was dying. The pain was horrible,go to bed tired and wake up more tired,gyno thought maybe I was getting Fybromyalgia,sent me to specialist.....this is a wicked wicked drug. I forgot to take this 3 days ago in the morning and guess what...I didnt have much pain. so started really digging and lots of people have had simular problems. I am off this drug,pharmacy said at 100 mg I could just stop since I was taking for migraines. My doctor is an illness creator,pill pusher and I will no longer go there,lost 4 months of my life. Relpax is a good little pill if you get a migraine once a month or so. 20 min and headache is gone. Im not sure what other problems topamax has caused in me yet. good luck.

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Shene Says:
I've been on Topamax since Jan for migraines and seizures. I've have problems focusing, memory loss, I'm tired all the time, tingling of my face hands and feet. Also I am very depressed. I can drive because of the seizures. And my family wants me to quit my job but my boyfriend how I live with thinks I should keep working. But he complains about driving me around all the time. I hate this medication. I'm on 100mg a day and going to ask the dr if he can change it. My side effects keep getting worse.

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Topamax user Says:
Get the Brand if you can, so much better it's worth the money and each time I had to increase the side effect which was just tingles which I took with orange juice so lasted a whole five mins, was gone. The generic is crap and made me ache all over and get short of breath, other ppl I spoke with on the brand none had no serious side effects. Hope it helps :)

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Lin Says:
At age 58 and after an entire life of migraine disease, I was finally put on Topamax. I have had side effects ranging from fatigue, but unablility to sleep, tingling heels, restless legs, stomach and bowel distress, lack of apetite, mental confusion, depression, and memory loss.

But gradually the headaches became less frequent and less severe. Then the side effects began to taper off.

I am no longer sick all of the time taking Relpax more than is safe for my body and at a level which was probably causing rebound, transformed migraines.

I sleep well with no restless legs and few tingling heels. I am still lacking in energy, and apetite, but find this easier than life sick and medicated in bed with ice on my head and a black sock to block out the light. I am still forgetful, but only sometimes, usually with word retrieval, but the frustration is worth freedom from pain and the damage migraines do to my brain.

In short, Topamax, like any medication, has risks. But the risks may be worth the benefits. For me, Topamax has its draw backs, but is -- all in all -- a wonderful relief for which I am very grateful.

I hope anyone suffering from persistent recurring migraine disease will have the good fortune to try Topamax and will also have the ability to stick with it long enought to determine it's true worth.

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gigglekisses Says:
I have been on topamax for over a year I think closer to two years and was placed on it due to a back injury that involves nerve damage to my leg and foot that already gives me tingling, swelling and numbness. I've been out on a whole list of different medicines and with a combination of two medicines topamax is working the best so far. yes I got the tingling in the face and hands but compared to what I was getting before it is so little in comparison I'll take that trade.... I was wanting to bang my leg on things before... I have had the weight lost too but after gaining 35 lbs+ from steroids shots I'll take the weight loss initially but what I don't like is hat I have to almost constantly remind myself to eat and eat a high calorie diet or eat things that I wouldn't eat just to keep weight on, I have finally leveled off I believe but I lost over 60 lbs and weight 125 on a good day at 5'8. as some have said you need to research and weigh the pros and cons of every medicine you put in your body, I really wish I could afford lyrica but that was 300 a month without Imsurance! my concerns now are my moods swings but I've also been diagnosed with PTSD and its hard to know if the sadness or angry comes from the medication or the PTSD or both and on which day. good luck to you each, I hope you a speedy recovery.

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Jenny Says:
I've been taking generic topamax 50mg twice daily for 2 years for migraine prevention and whilst some of the initial side effects disappeared once my dose stabilised (tingling feet, bad taste in mouth, fatigue) the long term cognitive issues and hair loss continue. My short term memory, word retrieval and basic cognition (simple maths and spelling) are shot and I've lost half my hair (fortunately it was very thick and curly). I'm going to my Dr to discuss changing to the name brand and/or decreasing my dose to 50mg daily to see if that makes any difference. If these aren't options then I think I'll have to stop taking it even though it's been wonderful for migraine control as I'm terrified that I'll be one of the few who's cognition doesn't return to normal after stopping it and if my hair doesn't stop falling out I'll be bald!

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Cherrymini Says:
Ive been a topomax user for seven years. I was initially introduced onto 150 mg at around 21 as I have chronic migraine syndrome. Because I was worried about being 5ft 4 and only weighing 8st (115lbs) I started dropping the weight and losing the appitite as you do with this drug. So I got painfully thin. Getting the tingles and stiIl getting migraines ..decided this just wasn't working as my migraines apprear on a week to week accurance. With headaches daily. .... I've tried other drugs such as sodium valproate .... Which blows you up like a balloon and swells you up with water retention causing weight gain increased from uk dress size of 8 that i have been for many years and i have never fitted into a size 12 or 14 ever it was pretty much unbeleiveable ... this just didn't work for me and didn't reduce my migrains..... Next I was put onto anti depressants such as amitriptaline these seemed to reduce the migraines however the side effects again were awful I almost had a personality change. I wanted to avoid everyone I felt irate towards people all the time. My job itself was a customer care role I have held for several years and I was on the brink of losing it as I was snapping at customers. So it was time to consult to doctors that this wasn't for me. I felt I needed help so since I have seen a private neurologist. He has been brilliant I have been introduced back onto the topirimate ( also known as topomax) ... I have slowly weaned myself back on but he has recommended to up my dose this time to 400mg I am currently on 358mg as you can see I'm almost there before my review date in feb I have been gradually increasing every 2 weeks by 25mg. Although its a pain in the ass to comply with the memory loss the tingles the weight loss and the string of other side effects that we all have to grumble about. I'm almost at the stage where I can wake up without a hangover feeling in the morning ! And my migraines are minimal ... I'm sure I would rather put up with a few side effects than have a daily dose of that ? .... It all depends on the severity of the migraines I guess... Everyone has their opinions :) ... I suppose I would love to not take the topomax and be side effect free but I wouldn't like to be back to square 1 again with my migraines ! But if anyone else has tried anything else shout up!

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CanCan Says:
You name it, I have tried all meds to prevent migraines over the years. I have suffered from migraines since about 8 years old.....I am now 73! So when I was 28, I finally found a doctor who gave me Fiorinal w/codeine which I took for several years, it has Aspirin in it. Then he switched me to Fioricet w/codeine with the Tylenol taking place of the Aspirin..which was irritating my stomach. So, all these years, 45 I think, I have been taking Fioricet w/codeine. Gradually my body built up a resistance to I had to increase them...and my headaches increased also due to neck, back and many other problems, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia....not fun getting old along with so many aches and pains. My old doctor passed was difficult finding another who understood my problems but I finally did. He was so good, actually knew te doctor I had for so many years. So he continued giving me the pills I had taken for so many years, BUT now the druggists give me an awful time when my doctor faxes over my prescription...this started about a year ago. I was taking 4 a day....! Both CVS and now Walgreens are saying NO...I can't have them. I asked my doctor what is going on...he says he doesn't understand it. So in the meantime....I continue with the daily bed most of the time. If they are taking these meds away from all people, why don't they say why...and help those of us who are dependent on them an alternative for withdrawal? Ihave asked my doctor for something for withdrawal, he gave me a lower dose bu I still have the headaches. I have had MRI's, CAT SCAN's, you name it..I have had it...even counselling...but there is a family history of migraines...going back to my grandmother, my dad, two my daughter and two of my granddaughters. I have had nerve blocks....DON'T have one...painful and a waste of time. I have been in the hospital twice for help, once they almost killed me by overdosing me with injections called "the cocktail"....I convulsed and blew out my knee, then had to have surgery on that. The other time they gave me morphine....way too much, took me weeks to recover! I finally ended up two weeks ago having 8 cortisone injections...back pain gone!!!! A wonderful Christmas Present!!!! But wondering if my doctor can do the same with the headaches....cortisone injections?!?! point is...all this withdrawing of pain meds from those who really need ithem HAS to be Government.....did we not hear we would not know what was going to be in the HealthCare Bill until it all happened? Well, it is happening!!! I think they are trying to get the addicts who do not have physical problems...out of the way...then maybe the rest of us who DO have physical ailments can get ourbeds again....IF we don't die first from withdrawals. I am having a difficult time....trying to just take Tylenol....probably way too many...and sleeping a lot. Hopefully I will get through this and live a couple more years....good luck to all! I will pray for those of you who are suffering from horrible body ailments. The Fioricet gave me a life...I thank God for that. There was a time I could not care for my two children back in the '60's....but my wonderful doctor was a God-send to me for many my age now, I really don't care anymore...just hate the headache pain!!!!!

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jenni Says:
wow the memory loss part scares me. but i am soooo desperate for weight loss. and it is helping soooo much with my anger, where as the other like 14 drugs they have tried havent.

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Cherrymini Says:
The side effects are pretty much long term I'm afraid ... As you see in my post I've been on topomax for several years I'm pretty much used to the side effects now ... The milder the dosage you don't seem to notice the side effects it's more or less the pins and needles and the feel of being cold all the time with the less dosage and the need to stop and pause for words ... You get a little foggy minded at times I get wound up with this but at least I can blame it on my medication And not myself . So at least it gives me some comfort I've not completely lost it and I know they are only side effects .... :) .... It's not as bad as everyone makes out at the end of the day I would rather be pain free from my chronic migraine and chronic pain and fatigue syndrome :) .... Hope I've helped ... X

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Becky Says:
I have been on Topamax for a little over a year for migraines. At 100mg, I only experienced the tingeling at first, but now the forgetfulness, word-finding problems, fogginess, depressions, etc. only just began about 3 months ago. This led to problems in my marriage, and thinking it was me going crazy. So I entered into therapy and was put on antidepressants. I agree with others, taking Topamax is a personal choice. But if I had read these posts before I started this medication, I would never have risked these side-effects. Especially if they continue once I finally stop taking the drug (hopefully starting tonight once my doc calls in the lower-dose script). I just know that I'm scared and upset that I didn't know this before I started. Now I read all the little fine print on every package of medicine that comes into our home!

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jody Says:
I did not have problems until they increase my dosage to 75 milligrams doctor would not call me back so I took myself off to 75 with that got a 50 problems with away 1 of the problems is the half-life of this medicine is 19 to 20 hours

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Lin Says:
You poor lady. In the 60's your doctor had few choices and fiorinol and fioricet were among them. However they are incredibly addicting and cause not only serious side effects like gastroenteritis and kidney disease, but also as in your case, most likely daily rebound migraine headaches. I have had them from physician prescribed medications containing acetaminophen/Tylenol. It robbed me of years with my children and life in my forties and set me up for future sensitivities.

Today I am controlled by better prescription medications which are made to prevent the migraines from beginning and then have emergency medication to hopefully abort a headache before it becomes intolerable.

Sadly it takes a skilled physician, sometimes one who has suffered with migraine disease personally, to provide the best treatment. And usually only a neurologist specializing in migraine will have the interest to go the distance with you.

I doubt your pharmacists and physicians or the government are aiming to take a good medicine away from you. Rather, they are trained to know that, at your age and with the current information about migraine disease, your old doctor simply was fueling your headaches to continue rather than to cease and he/she was also feeding a nasty addiction which might cause you to fall or become ill in other ways.

Sudden withdrawal was a horrible thing to do to you, however, and could have caused you to have seizures in addition to the agony of the rebound migraines and the inflammation caused to the membranes surrounding your brain .

If you have family willing to help, it is reasonable to request physician help to wean you off of the fioricet/fiorinal and an anti-inflammatory drug which will help greatly with your pain and overall condition. A neurologist should evaluate you for migraine control treatment and emergency migraine attack treatment. This might be a bit of a trial and error thing, but there are good drugs today which can help greatly.

In fact, at your age, once you are truly off of the fioricet and your system has been brought back to normal without inflammation, you might find you have outgrown your migraines as most women past menopause do.... And wouldn't that be a marvelous blessing!!!!!

Pass the word on to your children and grandchildren to NOT take barbiturates or opiates or narcotics for migraines because they do not really work. They might take the edge off, or put you to sleep, or make you not care so much... but they do not work to banish the problem and create worse and more PAIN and the worse terrors of ADDICTION!

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susan Says:
You say said lessor of two evils. Your post is dated 2011. I believe you chose best which would be to have gone off the drug.

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Bluedoh Says:
With regards to hair loss..."Biotin,also called vitamin H", can and will prevent hair loss. Drink water lots an lots of water . I'm bipolar 1, I'll need to be on medication for the rest of my life. All of which carries side effects, but I rather learn to live with side effects than be the person I become without medicine. No medication comes without some annoying side effect, its a trade off and everyones experience with meds does not mean it will be the same for you. Knowledge is power its good to research what could happen so you can be prepared. Many meds take time to reach therapeutic levels. Many side effects fade over time.
As was mentioned you can request name brand, generics contains more fillers. Such as the main ingredient in name brand is higher than generic.
Generics have @ 15% less of the main ingredient at the same dose. Be safe , live well and remember you are NEVER alone

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kit Says:
I have chronic migraine. I have had this condition since I was was a young child. I earned a degree in psychology over my curiosity and need to learn more. My doctor put me on the generic topamax. It caused my head to hurt immediately. He then put me on amitriptyline instead. My life is so much better. Now i have like one migraine a month where before was around five a week. My doctor sent me to a new neurologist who put me on topamax and to continue with the amitriptyline as well. I take promithazine and imatrex as needed. I take 800 mg three times a day as needed. I am reading these side effects and how some never go away. I will discuss with my doctor. Neurologist states that thinks do get better. I am trying to pick my battles.

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Jessica Says:
via mobile
I was on Topamax for 12 years for horrible miagranes. I started at 25mg and was at 100 before tapering off at the end of May. I had horrible side effects from this drug. The tingling sensation eventually left after some years, but I still have concentration problems and problems forgetting words mid sentence. Due to this fact, I am a hermit in my own home and I refrain from conversation because I feel so dumb. Since I have stopped the medication I have not had a menstral cycle. Its been a month and going on two weeks now. I am wandering if anyone else has experienced this? The topamax did help my miagranes and the reason for tapering off was because my neurologist stated I had been on the drug for a while with no miagranes and it was no use to keep taking the drug and experiencing the side effects.

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