Although it is not entirely clear how this medication works for epilepsy or migraines, it is believed that Topamax slows down the abnormal electrical signals in the brain that can cause seizures. The drug works similarly for migraineheadaches. Migraines may be triggered by nerve cells in the brain that are too easily excited. Topamax helps calm these nerve cells, working to prevent a migraine from ever starting.
Clinical studies have shown that Topamax increased the time until the next seizure and decreased the number of seizures. In one study of adults with epilepsy, approximately 75 percent of people taking 400 mg of the medicine per day were seizure-free for at least one year.
In one study that used Topamax for preventing migraines, 200 mg per day reduced the average number of migraines from 5.5 per month to 3.1 per month.
(For more information on how Topamax works, click Topamax. This article provides a complete overview of this prescription drug, including information on its uses, general precautions, and potential side effects.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 24, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed March 30, 2007.
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