Topamax

Topamax is a medicine that is also commonly known as topiramate. The drug is mostly used to treat conditions such as epilepsy and well as healing migraines. The drug is taken orally through the mouth. This drug has been in use since 1996 after it was approved for use for medicinal purposes. The drug is very affordable as its costs are not very high. There are also generic versions of the drug that are relatively cheaper. This drug can be used by people of all ages. Topamax is mostly recommended, as it does not cause any severe side effects, which is the case with most drugs.

Topamax Tablet

Medicinal use

  • Treating Epilepsy

Topamax can be used in the treatment of epilepsy. When the medicine was first invented, it was aimed at dealing with preventing convulsions. The epileptic conditions that the drug can deal with are those in both children and adults. In children, advanced epileptic conditions are known as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. This is a condition where children experience a form of epilepsy that is both complicated, rare and in its advanced condition. This syndrome can also cause a delay in developmental milestones in children. Topamax deals with epilepsy by reducing the prevalence and the rate at which the attacks occur.

  • Treating pain

Topamax is also used in preventing migraines as long as it took before a migraine occurs. From a study that was conducted in 2018, it revealed that this medicine could be used in treating lower back pain. The research for the use of this medicine as a pain remedy is, however, limited and it does not show that it can alienate all forms of pain.

  • Treating bipolar disorder

A study that was published in 2010 demonstrated that Topamax could be used to treat bipolar disorder. The study is, however, limited, as it was a study that was conducted through a single test trial. To show that this drug is efficient for use as a treatment for bipolar disorder, more test trials should be carried out.

  • Treating alcoholism

Topamax can also be used in treating alcoholism addictions. This was per the 2015 guidelines of VA/DoD, which indicated that it could be used to help people who are dealing with addiction to alcoholism.

  • Treating weight conditions

This drug can be used in treating conditions such as obesity and unusual weight gain. A study that was conducted in 2012 showed that combining Topamax with phentermine could result in tremendous and significant weight loss.

A further study stated that it could be used to deal with posttraumatic disorders. This study is however not complete, and it is research that is still ongoing.

Side Effects

Side effects

The side effects of using Topamax vary from one individual to the other. Some of the most common side effects of using the drug include fatigue, feeling faint, having an unclear mind, diarrhea, tingling sensation as well as losing weight. Other side effects can cause mental problems. This can include poor concentration, memory loss, speech problems as well as having trouble thinking and comprehending things. Before taking this medicine and any other drug, you should make sure that you are well aware of the side effects. Make sure that you get a doctor or physician who will explain the side effects to you. The side effects of Topamax are not very serious, and they may go away as the body gets used to the drug. One is also advised to seek a doctor’s advice if the side effect symptoms become severe.

Precautions when taking Topamax

  • Ensure that you notify your doctor or physician of your allergies to certain substances. This is because the compounds and components used in making this drug can cause allergic reactions.
  • It is also important to ensure that you inform the doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions. Make sure that you do not miss to list health conditions such as liver conditions, kidney problems, mental disorders, respiratory problems, and metabolism problems.
  • It is also recommended that you do not operate any machinery or drive when using medicine. You should also not combine the drug with other substances that can cause dizziness, such as alcohol or cannabis.
  • The medicine also inhibits sweating. One should ensure that they avoid conditions that will make them sweat or feel hot to prevent them from getting a heat stroke. It is also crucial to take a lot of water and ensure that you wear light clothing so that your body does not heat up.
  • In case you are undergoing surgery, inform your doctor that you are using this drug.
  • Ensure that you also inform the doctor of whether you are pregnant or not because the drug can cause harm to the unborn baby.
  • Make sure that you also inform the doctor if you are breastfeeding as the drug can pass on to breast milk and affect the baby.

When to see a doctor

It is important to see a doctor if any of the following symptoms occur when taking this medicine. You should, however not just look out for only these signs. When you experience any side effect that does not go away and becomes worse, you should make sure that you see a doctor immediately. Below are some of the symptoms that you should look out for

  • Severe pains
  • Chills and fevers
  • Kidney stones
  • Severe depression and thoughts of suicide
  • Respiratory problems
  • Severe bleeding and unusual bleeding
  • Issues with the eyes
  • Serious allergic reactions

Conclusion

Topamax has been in use since the 20th century. The drug is very effective especially in dealing with epilepsy. It also has several other uses, and this makes it even more useful. There is, however, side effects of the drug, which can require the attention of a doctor if you become more severe. It is also important to ensure that you follow all the precautions necessary when taking the drug to ensure that you enjoy its full effectiveness.

Migraines - Meaning, Causes and Treatments

Migraine

Migraines are severe headaches that are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. The exact cause of migraines is still unclear but it’s a disorder among many people. Nearly 28 million people at least in the US have migraines, although women have been recorded to have lesser migraines than men. Migraines are a long lasting headache, lasting from a couple of hours to even days.

Here we list down some important facts about migraines, possible causes as well as some of its treatments and diagnoses.

About Topamax

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a severe headache that is long lasting. It can last upto several hours and even days and is accompanied by vomits, weakness, dizziness, nausea and a characteristic sensitivity of light.

Till now, the biology of migraines was unclear. Most believed that these occurred due to frequent contraction and expansion of the blood vessels thus causing pain, while others believed that the pain was caused due to abnormalities in some brain areas.

Recent research has however been fruitful since it has been found out why migraines occur. Certain hypersensitive never cells send impulses that result in some blood vessels to ‘clamp’ and dilate, thus disturbing blood flow as well as release hormones like prostaglandins that inflame the blood vessels that causing pain.

Causes of Migraines

Migraines are mostly caused by the following factors:

  • Stress and depression, considered the most common cause.
  • Release of ‘fight or flight’ chemicals that dilate the bran’s blood vessels.
  • Certain allergies or sensitivities to some food materials like alcohol food additives like nitrates.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Disturbance in sleep patterns.
  • Excessive caffeine consumption.

What are it's Symptoms?

Migraine can sue a range of symptoms, mostly related to severe headaches. However, since migraines differ from normal headaches, some of its symptoms can be highlighted as below:

  • Abnormal pain patterns that can last from 30 minutes to several days.
  • Varying intensity throughout the pain period.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Headache upon waking up.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty focussing.
  • Weakness and muscle aches.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Pain around cheekbones, nose bridge or forehead.

If any of the base symptoms is felt, especially when it comes to lasting, recurring headaches, then its best to contact a doctor.

Treating Migraines

Migraines are effectively created hough drugs and home treatments. Since most of the migraine headaches are caused due to blood vessels undergoing intense dilation, causing pain, most drugs target blood flow. In migraine treatments, there are primarily two kinds of drugs:

  • Abortive.
  • Preventive.

Abortive medications ‘abort’ the migraine as it occurs. These medications, like the triptans, are consumed immediately and target serotonin. However, abortive medications should not be used for those with medical conditions like arthritis or back problems. These medicines include drugs like Ergotamine, Acetaminophen, etc.

Preventive medications prevent migraines from happening frequently. With time, recurring migraines can even be wiped out. Such medications include drugs like propranolol, antidepressants, amitriptyline, Botox, Topamax and Valproic acid.

Anticonvulsants + Calcium channel blockers