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What should I know before taking an anticonvulsant for migraines?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Your doctor will need to assess your liver function before starting treatment. Serum bicarbonate will need to be measured before starting topiramate.

If you take topiramate, you should avoid alcohol.

Valproic acid and topiramate are passed into breast milk and may not be good options for breastfeeding women.

If you have kidney function impairment or liver function impairment, valproic acid and topiramate may not be good options for you.

If you have urea cycle disorder, you should not take valproic acid.

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or may be pregnant, these anticonvulsants should be avoided. The health of your baby may be at risk if you take topiramate or valproic acid.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

Before starting an anticonvulsant for migraines, it is important to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. While anticonvulsant medications can be effective in reducing the frequency of migraines, they all have side effects. Common side effects can include fatigue, mental clouding and other neurologic problems. Fortunately most people do not suffer from these side effects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.