30 thoughts on “Bipolar Medication Spotlight: Topamax (Topiramate)

  • October 10, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I have started on Topamax & am trying to decrease Abilify as that seems to be the culprit in my weight gain (I KNOW; I KNOW–“weight neutral”–just ask around my support group & see how “weight neutral” Abilify is).

    It is a wonderful medication in that it stopped my delusional thinking, paranoia & allowed me to finally participate fully in therapy & “get somewhere.” But after gaining 50 lbs. in 10 years on Abilify the benefits did not outweigh the negatives: Now on meds for high blood pressure & cholesterol; just testing in the range for diabetes so will have to see if I have to go on medication for that & worst of all is the impact on my marriage.

    My husband announced he no longer finds me sexually attractive & (lots of low self-esteem here) I overdosed when I heard that remark so decreasing Abilify & adding Topamax to try to promote weight loss. But the emotional devastation of an overdose after being stable for 5 years & the already in the gutter self-esteem (how can it get any lower? Well, it can) is really doing a trick on me.

    Been dxed “mixed-moderate” for the 2 years since the overdose. Meds being adjusted. Adding Topamax, trying to get off Abilify. Can’t quite seem to do it. Paranoia sets in & I have to increase the Abilify for 2 weeks to knock it out.

    So I don’t know yet if the Topamax has been given a “chance” to work on decreasing the eating or appetite. As far as the memory problems, etc. I got that from other meds before & I just have kissed spelling, math skills, memory, creativity good-bye.

    Hope to eventually get off the Abilify or stay on the low dose of 5 mg & let the Topamax do its “wonder.”

  • October 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I am a retired physician who have had problems similar to yours.. TOPAMAX, however, is not the answer. It caused severe paranoia, delusional thinking, psychosis and more than I can share. Smith Kline has had multiple reports but have NOT reported them to the FDA. I know because I have spoken to them.

  • October 16, 2008 at 12:05 am

    I was on Topamax for about 6 months. 150mg. I had sleepiness (which slowly went away, severe tingling in my left leg and foot! But I have nerve damage from a blown disc soooo.
    I really liked it though. It seem to really help and the side effects where barably. The tingling was the only irrating one. It did curb my eating and seem to help my mood swings.
    The only reason I went off of it was the PRICE! Even with insurance it still ran me 150 bucks a month! without insurance it would have been $450! I am on a budget and just couldn’t keep paying for it. IF they come out with a generic I will defiantly go back on it!

  • October 20, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I was untreated bi-polar and I was spinning out of control. I am 15 and I was going downhill. Topamax in the first few days made me less anxious, less confrontational, more rational, happier, I’m losing weight. I’m not nervously eating. The only problem I have is I need to eat on a schedual because I forget to eat. I’m understanding my schoolwork more. I’m considering this my drug of choice. I was prescribed Topamax because I was experiancing headaches of drastic measures and handtremors. I was an insomniac. And I was chronically depressed. I’m much happier now. =] I’ve heard it isn’t for everyone. I take 25mg in the morning and 50mg at night. And it works rather well.

  • October 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I have been taking Topamax for 10 months and it has done a great job of keeping me out of depression but not so great at keeping me out of mania. When we added 300mg of Lithium ER to the 300mg of Topamax the mania leveled out. I have not felt any side effects except weight loss; I really cannot tell I take it except for the weight loss. I’m down 35 pounds this year but adding the Lithium stopped the weight loss and began a bit of a gain.

  • April 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Oh man, I LOVE Topamax! I was originally put on it for migraines, but it not only helped my migraines but masked my mania… a little too well. I went to a psychiatrist because I was depressed, and she gave me an antidepressant… which erm, triggered a crazy manic episode. Anyways. We’ll see how it goes with my *new* bipolar meds, which is why I’m looking up all of this info on its bipolar uses as well. Anyways. SO! But I love topamax. I don’t care that the side effects are horrible because it cures migraines and the side effects go away eventually. Oh, and you lose your appetite. But that whole psychosis inducing thing is crap. I’ve about looked on every forum, comment, community thing on the web and not seen a single thing about anything like that. O.o That’s what I wanted to say.

  • April 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I was prescribed topomax a few years ago. I took it for two years. I, too, previously suffered from very regularly migraine headaches prior to taking topomax. In addition, I lost over 120 lbs of weight over that two year period. I do believe that it helped with mood stabilization and anxiety though I can’t be one hundred percent sure because I was also prescribed so many combinations of different drugs. I stopped taking all of my medication over three years ago and have managed the illness fairly well. I am, however, now seeking a doctor to help. I am not advising or condoning self management. However, I do believe the success I’ve experienced in the past three years demonstrates that medication is not the end all, be all.

  • May 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I just started Topiramate again for alcohol abuse. I began using it last year and started with 25mgs. But now my doctor started me with 50mgs and I am experiencing more of the side effects than I remember. I’m getting the dizziness, tingly feelings, and slight depression (although I have suffered from depression for over 15 years so it could just be an episode). I was just wondering if this side effects go away after some time. The dizziness and tingly feelings are not that big of a deal but the depression concerns me. And being only at 50mg, I’m concerned about dosing up to 300mg which is supposedly where I am supposed to get to.

  • May 23, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    When I first started Topomax, I felt like I had been ‘plugged in’ to a wall jack the intensity of the tingling was enormous. For a week or two afterwards, I experienced numb and tingling hands, my lips would ‘vibrate’ and I even felt the tingling in my face.

    Those symptoms lightened up significantly but the memory problems were terrible. I actually had to ask my stepson when my birthday was while filling out paperwork at the doctors office. That was the final straw, so I requested the pdoc take me off of it. I’m now on Seroquel and Prozac and am stable for the most part.

  • May 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    When I first started Topomax, I felt like I had been ‘plugged in’ to a wall jack because of the intensity of the tingling–it flooded my whole body. For a week or two afterwards, I experienced numb and tingling hands, my lips would ‘vibrate’ and I even felt the tingling in parts of my face.

    Those symptoms lightened up significantly but the memory problems were terrible. I actually had to ask my stepson when my birthday was while filling out paperwork at the doctors office. That was the final straw, so I requested my pdoc take me off of it. I’m now on Seroquel and Prozac and am stable for the most part.

  • June 5, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I was on topamax for 7yrs it damaged my teeth but it really worked for me.I was taken off it and i haven’t been the same i can a reck

  • June 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Sorry,I am a wreck

  • June 6, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I have been on topamax for over a month now and already lost 15 lbs. It was perscribed to me for migranes and has somewhat helped with those for the most part but the weight loss has been the best part of all! I hate all the other side effects though! Sometimes I wonder if the medicine itself isn’t making me crazy! I felt drunk all the time at first and now i just feel hung ove all the time. I am forgetful and snappy and I vairly remember what to do day to day. I have a lot of stress going on around me so its hard to determine if it’s the medication or just other things! But it did help lower the number of days and the severness of the migranes and help with extreme weight loss! Goooo Topamax!…..Oh and You can get topamax for $5 a month now if you visit Topamax.com until December 31, 2009…you can print out a coupon..I ran across the coupon the other day for those of you who do now have health insurance!

  • June 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I have been on Topamax for over 6 years and am stable. After researching Topamax while in my Masters program for social work, I asked my doc to put me on the drug. We had previously tried every other mood stabilizer, which did little to stop the mania/depression symptoms of my Bipolar II Dx.

    As with any medication, each one works differently for each individual and you must take it at the same time each day. You must also ensure you are eating healthy, as well as exercising as much as you can (when you have the energy), and getting enough rest. I still find that when I deprive myself of sleep due to stressful events in my life, I tend to get overly anxious or crash into a depression.

    There are still those who believe Topamax does not work for BP affected individuals, but if you are like me and take care of yourself, you will indeed see positive results. You do need to advocate for yourself though. Because as my doctor tells me again and again, “patients make the best doctors.” Why? Because we know our bodies better than anyone else. So listen to what your’s is telling you.

    P.s. As of June 2009, there is a generic (Topiramate) available.

  • June 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I have had bipolar for 12 yrs and have taken Topomax not so much as a mood stabalizer but to curb appetite. In looking back I think it did help curb appetite, but did nothing for mood. But, I have diff
    diagnosis than you do. Good to know there is generic now, may just push dr to prescribe. He is very stubborn though, wish me luck!

  • August 8, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I am 33 and have suffered from severe mood issues for as long as I can remember. Diagnosed with severe depression at age 16, started taking antidepressants and have struggled my entire life to find stability. Last year, my excellent Dr. diagnosed me bipolar, prescribed me topamax and I am a whole new woman. It has made an incredible difference in my life. I am stable for the first time in my life. I can be a mom, a wife, a professional and not be stuck in my head or freaking out all the time. I sleep through the night. I don’t have panic attacks. I can have professional disagreements without freaking out. It has REALLY helped me…then my work switched insurance companies and the new company denied covering Topamax or the generic for mood stabilization because it is not FDA approved for this yet…it is a nightmare. I would love to visit the insurance company after being off the meds. for a week or two…

  • August 31, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Topamax is a miracle drug for my bipolar. I have only taken for a couple of months and have lost 14 pounds. My moods have levelled out. I am no longer a nervous wreck all the time and have to pop benzos all day. My headaches have also gone away mysteriously, but I thought that was just a sinus thing. The side effects are: I can’t drink anything carbonated, it tastes flat and salty (which is weird), I can’t concentrate, I have become as dumb as a box of rocks, my dr has me on strattera for that now. The strattera hasn’t started working yet. I can’t eat, I feel nauseous all the time and I get dizzy a lot. But these are all worth being mentally and emotionally stable and the weight loss is awesome especially since I also have hypothyroidism.

  • September 6, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I have been on Topamax for 2.5 years. I am bipolar. The side effects either went away or I just got used to them. I lost about 20lbs. My weight now stablizes. My life was not manageable before Topamax. I now have a career, family, friends, I have gone back to school and so on. I do have my “bad days” but I can get through them now. Topama is my life saver, my miracle drug.

  • December 11, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I am currently 34 years old and have been on anti-depressants for over half of my life. I have always been treated as having Major Depressive Disorder and I now have reason to believe that I have been misdiagnosed and chemically mistreated for years. I have also suffered from migraine headaches since the age of 12. Recently, after the birth of my 3rd child, my migraine episodes became truly unmanageable. My family physician put me on Topamax, which worked miracles (and continues to do so) for my migraines. However, I noticed within the first week a feeling of “evenness” that I don’t know that I can ever recall feeling before. After the feeling was maintained for a solid month I began doing some research and found that Topamax is also used to treat Bi-Polar Disorder. I truly cannot describe the clarity and evenness that I have experienced- it is significant. However, I am also on 40 mg of Prozac and since introducing the Topamax I have had 2 significant hypomanic episodes that I believe may have been elicited by the Prozac (SSRI) by introducing the Topamax. At this point my family doctor and I have cut the Prozac back to 20 mg and I think that we are looking at switching the anti-depressant to a non-SSRI anti-depressant with the assistance of a good Psychiatrist.

  • February 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been on Topamax for about 2 years and I absolutely love it. It was given to me when I was first diagnosed Bi-polar 2. My brain went to sleep when I went to bed… wow! And for the first time ever, I could shut my mouth and listen to others talk… I didn’t have to talk, and talk, and talk, my brain was quieted… I didn’t realize that I now had a brain that functioned the way most other people did. Gosh, but I felt so much better, so rested in my mind, my body and spirit. I love, love, love Topamax.

  • February 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Uppi might love, love , love Topomax now, but after several years on Topamax, T have sever memory loss that no one warns you about. So sever that it affects my work and every day living. I am now trying to cut back the Topomax because this memory loss is much too severe.

  • February 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    topamax saved my life. with my current insurance it costs me 30 for 3 months worth (I think 3 months, maybe 2…but it’s reasonable) I lost a ton of med weight when I went on it, my weight has gone up and down some in the 3 or 4 years I’ve been on it, but never up the high point I was at when I started. I take a very high dose, 400 mg, but it’s what works for me. I also take it with 500 mg of valproic acid and have in the past also taken 650 mg of strattera. I am dx’ed as bpII, but I question whether it’s one or two and whether I may have bpd…but I think that’s just the msw student in me self dx’ing….

  • March 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Topamax is a NIGHTMARE. I take it for epilepsy. It is destroying my quality of life. I have suffered major depression it, my moods fluctuate so wildly that people call me crazy to my face and the suicidal ideation is *relentless*. I have crying jags, mania, insomnia and I’m one step away from a psychotic break on this stuff. Perhaps it works better when it’s prescribed for conditions other than epilepsy, but I’m going to wean myself off it starting today or I’ll be taking the big Dirt Nap in no time at all. I’ve been on it before and went off it for these same reasons. It’s not even very good at seizure control anyway. Bad memory problems, word finding difficulties, etc. I would far rather seize (even though my seizures are life threatening, crack your head open ones) than be psychotic. This drug is POISON.

  • October 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I started taking 200 mg of Topamax in the summertime and I loved it! I started losing weight, my appetite was decreasing, and I even quit drinking. Once I started up the semester I realized that I was having a really hard time not day dreaming while staying focused. I had diffculty studying for exams, completing thoughts and sentences not only in class, but also in day to day conversations. I had trouble remembering my own house phone number! The point that I am trying to make is that there are many medications out there and some side effects are not worth the things that I thought were so important. My mental health should come first.

  • December 26, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Haha I must be the only person on Topamax who gained weight. I have food issues though so it isn’t the medications “fault”, just my brain’s. I’ve been on this med for about 9 months now and I really love it. I wasn’t able to stop drinking since I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I’m 26 so go figure. My meds couldn’t work as well since I was hungover and all that. Since being on topamax I haven’t had an urge to drink and I love it. I even tried my (previously) favorite drink and took 2 sips and found someone else to finish it for me.

    I do have the pins and needles feelings every once in a while in my hands and/or feet and I feel pretty dehydrated most of the time. Those are the only side effects I can think of off the top of my head.

    It seems to work with my brain and body chemistry. Good luck to all.


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *