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Medications Lexicon

How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Topiramate belongs to a group of medications that are used to treat epilepsy. It works by affecting chemicals in the brain that are involved in sending signals to nerves. Topiramate is a medication that is used to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches.

For epilepsy, topiramate can be used alone or in combination with other epilepsy medications. For migraine prevention, topiramate is used to treat adults who have 4 or more migraine headaches a month and who have not responded to, or cannot take, medications that treat an acute migraine attack.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

When used alone for the treatment of epilepsy, the recommended starting dose of topiramate in adults and children 6 years of age and older is 25 mg daily, increasing to a usual dose of 100 mg daily in 2 divided doses. The maximum recommended dose is 400 mg daily.

When used in combination with other epilepsy medications, the recommended adult dose of topiramate starts at 25 mg to 50 mg daily, increasing to a usual dose of 200 mg to 400 mg daily in 2 divided doses. The maximum recommended dose is 800 mg daily. The recommended dose for children aged 2 to 16 years starts at 25 mg daily (or 1 mg to 3 mg per kilogram of body weight), increasing to a usual dose of 5 mg to 9 mg per kilogram per day in 2 divided doses.

For migraine prevention, the usual starting dose of topiramate is 25 mg daily, increasing to a usual dose of 100 mg daily in 2 divided doses.

The tablets can be taken with or without food. Topiramate tablets should not be broken. The sprinkle capsules can be swallowed whole or opened and sprinkled on a small amount (teaspoon) of soft food. The medication and food should be swallowed immediately and not chewed.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

25 mg
Each white, round, biconvex, coated tablet with "P" logo debossed on one side and "25" on the other side contains topiramate 25 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, copovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polydextrose, triethyl citrate, lactose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.

100 mg
Each yellow, round, biconvex, coated tablet with "P" logo debossed on one side and "100" on the other side contains topiramate 100 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, copovidone, lactose, polyvinyl alcohol, talc, iron oxide yellow, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.

200 mg
Each white, round, biconvex, coated tablet with "P" logo debossed on one side and "200" on the other side contains topiramate 200 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, copovidone, polyvinyl alcohol, talc, iron oxide red, lactose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to topiramate or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • altered taste
  • constipation
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • increased sweating
  • nausea
  • tremor

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • aggressive behaviour
  • agitation
  • back pain
  • burning or tingling sensations
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • decreased appetite
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • eye pain
  • flushing
  • memory problems
  • nervousness
  • physical or mental slowing
  • red eyes
  • skin rash
  • speech disorders (e.g. hesitancy or word-finding difficulty)
  • swelling
  • unusual tiredness
  • upper respiratory tract infection (e.g. colds, bronchitis)
  • vision changes
  • weight loss

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Birth control: Topiramate has been shown to affect birth control pills that contain low doses of estrogen. If you are a woman taking birth control pills you should receive a preparation containing not less than 30 µg of estrogen and report any changes in bleeding patterns to your doctor.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Topiramate can cause difficulty with concentration, speech or language problems, and drowsiness or fatigue. If you are taking this medication you should not drive or operate machinery until you have had a chance to see if it affects your mental or physical performance.

Heat regulation: For some people, especially children, topiramate may cause decreased sweating and increased body temperature. Let your doctor know if you or a child taking this medication experiences these symptoms. Proper hydration during exposure to warm temperatures, as well as before and during exercise, is recommended.

Kidney stones: Approximately 1.5% of people taking topiramate develop kidney stones. Men seem to be at greater risk for this. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication in order to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.

Laboratory tests: Topiramate may decrease sodium bicarbonate levels and lead to metabolic acidosis. Sodium bicarbonate levels should be monitored by your doctor.

Liver function: Topiramate should be used with caution by people with decreased liver function.

Stopping treatment: Topiramate should be stopped gradually to decrease the risk of seizures. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor.

Vision changes: If you are taking topiramate you should immediately report blurred vision or painful and red eyes to a doctor. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to permanent vision loss.

Pregnancy: There are no studies on the use of topiramate by pregnant women. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: Limited information shows that topiramate is found in breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and taking topiramate, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children and adolescents: Topiramate can be used in children aged 2 and older. The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under the age of 2.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between topiramate and any of the following:

  • acetazolamide
  • amitriptyline
  • carbamazepine
  • digoxin
  • CNS depressants (medications that slow down the central nervous system, such as alcohol, sedatives, or morphine)
  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • metformin
  • oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • phenytoin
  • pioglitazone
  • risperidone

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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