How TOPAMAX works
"Some migraine medications you take when you feel migraine pain coming on ...TOPAMAX works differently.
— it is a daily medication."
Some migraine medications are taken at the start of a migraine. They work one migraine at a time. TOPAMAX works differently. It's a daily prescription medication that you take for as long as you and your healthcare professional decide you need it. Migraines may not be completely eliminated, but TOPAMAX can help stop them before they start, so you can get fewer of them to think about.
How TOPAMAX Is Believed To Work
Although no one knows exactly why migraines happen, the process is believed to be a series of events in the brain that cause pain and the other symptoms of a migraine attack. For people with migraines, the brain is felt to be very sensitive to change and the nerves become overexcitable. There are many different triggers that may start the process of a migraine attack by increasing this excitability. The excitability in the brain may then activate pain-causing nerves to release chemicals around blood vessels that surround the brain. These chemicals cause inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels, which will cause head pain and throbbing. Specific areas in the brain may then become very sensitive to otherwise normal sensations causing sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and tenderness of the scalp.
Unlike medication taken at the start of migraine pain to treat an attack, preventive medications like TOPAMAX are taken every day to help decrease the frequency of migraine attacks.
The exact way that TOPAMAX works is not known, but it is believed to help "calm" overexcitable nerves in the brain so they don't send out the signals that can cause migraines. Medical research has proven that taking TOPAMAX every day may help reduce the total number of migraine attacks that occur over time.
Calming nerve cells in the brain
TOPAMAX is believed to help "calm" the process that leads to migraines. During a migraine, overexcitable nerve cells send pain signals. With TOPAMAX, it's believed that overexcitable nerve cells are "calmed" to help reduce migraine occurrence.
Sticking with TOPAMAX
Clinical studies found that TOPAMAX began reducing the frequency of migraines at 1 month and showed sustained improvement throughout the 6-month studies. To achieve best results, TOPAMAX should be taken for 2 to 3 months and then its effectiveness can be determined.
Attention TOPAMAX Patients and Medical Professionals
Dispensing errors have been reported between TOPAMAX® (topiramate) tablets and TOPROL-XL® (metoprolol succinate) extended-release tablets.
Please be sure to check your tablets to ensure you are taking the right medicine.
*TOPROL-XL is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.
TOPAMAX® is approved for migraine prevention in adults only.
TOPAMAX® is not used to stop a migraine after it starts.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Warnings and PrecautionsTOPAMAX® may cause eye problems. Serious eye problems include: sudden decrease in vision with or without eye pain and redness; blockage of fluid in the eye causing increased pressure in the eye (secondary angle closure glaucoma). These eye problems can lead to permanent loss of vision if not treated. You should call your healthcare professional right away if you have any new eye symptoms.
TOPAMAX® may cause decreased sweating and increased body temperature (fever). People, especially children, should be watched for signs of decreased sweating and fever, especially in hot temperatures. Some people may need to be hospitalized for this condition. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have a high fever, a fever that does not go away, or decreased sweating.
TOPAMAX® can increase the level of acid in your blood (metabolic acidosis). If left untreated, metabolic acidosis can cause brittle or soft bones (osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteopenia), kidney stones, can slow the rate of growth in children, and may possibly harm your baby if you are pregnant. Metabolic acidosis can happen with or without symptoms. Sometimes people with metabolic acidosis will: feel tired, not feel hungry (loss of appetite), feel changes in heartbeat, or have trouble thinking clearly. Your healthcare provider should do a blood test to measure the level of acid in your blood before and during your treatment with TOPAMAX®. If you are pregnant, you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you have metabolic acidosis.
Like other antiepileptic drugs, TOPAMAX® may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Pay attention to any changes and call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: thoughts about suicide or dying, attempts to commit suicide, new or worse depression, new or worse anxiety, feeling agitated or restless, panic attacks, trouble sleeping (insomnia), new or worse irritability, acting aggressive, being angry or violent, acting on dangerous impulses, an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania), or other unusual changes in behavior or mood.
TOPAMAX® may affect how you think, and cause confusion, problems with concentration, attention, memory, or speech, depression or mood problems, tiredness, and sleepiness.
Do not stop taking TOPAMAX® without first talking to your doctor. Stopping TOPAMAX® suddenly can cause serious problems.
If you take TOPAMAX® during pregnancy, your baby has a higher risk for birth defects called cleft lip and cleft palate. These defects can begin early in pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. There may be other medicines to treat your condition that have a lower chance of birth defects. All women of childbearing age should talk to their healthcare providers about using other possible treatments instead of TOPAMAX®. If the decision is made to use TOPAMAX®, you should use effective birth control (contraception) unless you are planning to become pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking TOPAMAX®. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will continue to take TOPAMAX® while you are pregnant. Metabolic acidosis may have harmful effects on your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if TOPAMAX® has caused metabolic acidosis during your pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking TOPAMAX®, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-888-233-2334. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy.
TOPAMAX® may cause high blood ammonia levels. High ammonia in the blood can affect your mental activities, slow your alertness, make you feel tired, or cause vomiting.
Taking TOPAMAX® when you are also taking valproic acid can cause a drop in body temperature (hypothermia) to less than 95ºF, feeling tired, confusion, or coma.
Adverse ReactionsThe most common side effects of TOPAMAX® include: tingling in arms and legs, loss of appetite, nausea, taste change, diarrhea, weight loss, nervousness, and upper respiratory tract infection.
Tell your doctor about other medications that you are taking. Report any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of TOPAMAX®. For more information, ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see full US Prescribing Information and Medication Guide
This information is intended for the use of our customers, patients
and healthcare professionals in the United States and Puerto Rico only.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recognizes that the Internet is a global communications medium; however, laws, regulatory requirements and medical practices for pharmaceutical products vary from country to country. The prescribing information included here may not be appropriate for use outside the United States and Puerto Rico.
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This site was last modified on: Sep 13 2012 at 16:26:07 EDT