Topomax Side Effects, Cost & Dosage

What exactly is a seizure?

A seizure is a sudden change in behavior identified by changes in the sense of feeling or movement due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent convulsions or seizures that can include repetitive muscle jerking. There are two types of seizures, focal and generalized. Beneath these two comprehensive kinds of seizures are various sub-types. In a focal seizure, nerve cells fire their impulses on one hemisphere of the brain. Focal seizures are divided into simple or complex based on the level of wakefulness during the attack. Simple partial seizures occur in those who are conscious, whereas complex partial seizures show impaired levels of consciousness.

Generalized seizures result from initial abnormal firing of brain nerve cells throughout the entire brain. There are many classifications for this type of seizure, for instance: Tonic-clonic, tonic, atonic, clonic, absence, and myoclonic.

What is Topomax?

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 already existing treatment when that regimen fails to fully control attacks.

How Does Topomax Work?

Chemically topiramate is a sulfa mate-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 kainite and AMPA receptors.

What is the History of Topomax?

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 Topomax?

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 indication 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 Topomax 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. It shouldn’t be stored for later use.

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