Topamax Side Effects, Cost & Dosage

What is a seizure?
A seizure is an abnormal and unregulated electrical impulse that happens in the brain’s cortical gray matter. It temporarily interrupts normal brain function. It usually causes altered awareness of circumstances, unusual sensations, focal involuntary movements or spasms and involuntary contraction of voluntary muscles. About 2% of adults have a seizure at some point during their life, two thirds of that 2% never have a second one.

What is Topamax?
The brand name for topiramate is Topamax. It’s an anticonvulsant drug produced by Ortho-Medical Neurologics and Noramco, Inc., both being divisions of Johnson & Johnson. It’s prescribed to control the mild attacks known as partial or focal seizures and the severe tonic-clonic convulsions known also as grand mal. It’s typically added to an existing treatment when that regimen fails to fully control attacks.

How does Topamax work?
Chemically topiramate is a sulfamate substituted monosaccharide, related to fructose. This constitutes an unusual chemical structure for use as an anticonvulsant. It enhances GABA-activated chloride channels, (GABA being a calming chemical in the brain). It also inhibits excitatory neurotransmission through actions on kainate and AMPA receptors.

What is the history of Topamax?
Topamax was discovered by Bruce Maryanoff and Joseph Gardocki in 1979 during their research at McNeil Pharmaceutical. In March 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was given marketing clearance for Topamax use as an antiepileptic drug.

What are the side effects of Topamax?
Side-effects reported by at least 10% of subjects in one study include: headache, numbness and tingling, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, memory problems, insomnia, somnolence and loss of appetite. Some report hair loss, there is an indication that this may be exacerbated by use of generic versions of Topamax. Drug withdrawal fits have been rarely reported. Psychosis has also been reported.

What is the average Topamax dosage and cost?
Generic versions were granted to Mylan Pharmaceuticals by the FDA in the U.S. recently. These were for sprinkle tablets and 25, 100 and 200 mg tablets. It’s important to take exactly as prescribed, with or without food. The tablets should not be broken. If capsules are used they may be opened and sprinkled on a teaspoonful of soft food. To open the capsule, hold it so the word “top” can be read and carefully twist off the clear portion of the capsule. The food and drug mixture should be swallowed whole and not chewed and it shouldn’t be stored for later use.

NoteClick here for alternative and dietary options for seizure management.

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