How does Topamax (topiramate) treat migraines?

Dr. Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiologist

No medication works for everybody, and it is not unusual to have to try several medications before you find the one that works. Additionally, the necessary dose varies greatly from person to person. This should be discussed with your doctor.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

What causes migraines is still somewhat of a mystery, but they are thought to start because nerves in the brain become overexcited and begin to suddenly send out irregular signals and impulses through the brain. It is equally unknown exactly what chemical reaction or suppressive action causes Topamax to work, but it is thought that it stops those rapid, irregular signals from firing in the brain. Thus, taking Topamax before a migraine occurs can stop this overexcitement from happening in the first place. Topamax, however, cannot help a migraine that has already started.

If your child were to stop taking her Topamax suddenly, she might have seizures, even if she never had them before. Many people who take Topamax are uncomfortable because of the side effects of the drug, which can include mood and behavior changes. But they should not stop taking this drug without the help of their doctor. If your child has had seizures, talk with her to see if she has been taking her Topamax. Then talk with her doctor.

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