What is Topamax?

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Spend much time on fibromyalgia discussion boards and you are likely to hear, “What is Topamax?” For some, Topamax may be just what the doctor ordered to help with pain relief. Topamax may be effective for treating nerve pain, which may be linked to fibromyalgia. An added bonus is that many people who have migraine headaches have found they experience fewer when taking Topomax.

What it is

Topiramate is a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches. It also treats nerve pain, which is why it may work for fibromyalgia.

Effectiveness

Although some studies have suggested that Topamax may be effective for other types of nerve pain, there have been very few studies that have looked at Topamax for fibromyalgia treatment. In a study in the American Journal of Pain Management, research showed that “more than half of the patients had a greater than 50% improvement in symptoms. A greater than 70% reduction in symptoms was experienced by 14.6%. Only 12.2% experienced a poor response.” Am J Pain Manage 2002;12:16-23.

Side Effects

One important consideration is that on Topamax, the body does not regulate well to heat exposure. Heat and exposure to sun is a major issue because the individual can quickly become overheated. Stay hydrated and in the shade when on this medications. Also, it can affect the taste of some foods. Some people report tingling in the fingers. Some people also experience weight loss and/or a sense of being “high.” Women may be more prone to urinary tract infections and should drink a lot of water. If you experience dizziness while on Topamax, it may helpful to perform vestibular exercises.

How to take it

Do not adjust your medication or stop taking it while on Topamax. Most people should begin at a very low dose.


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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