Warnings about Topamax (topiramate)

Topiramate (Topamax) increases the risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate, warned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Topiramate is an epilepsy drug which is also approved for the preventive treatment of migraine headaches. It is a very popular drug, in part because it can cause weight loss in some patients. In clinical trials only half of migraine patients who started taking this drug remained on it for more than a few months because it was ineffective for some and caused intolerable side effects in others. One of the main side effects which makes people stop taking this drug is difficulty speaking and thinking. Topiramate is also known to cause kidney stones and the initial data suggested that less than 1% of patients taking it developed kidney stones. However, a recent report suggested that up to 20% of people taking topiramate for a period of two years will develop kidney stones. Half of the patients who developed kidney stones were not aware of it. Kidneys stones not only can be very painful, but in severe cases can impair kidney function.
These two newly discovered dangers are additional reasons to avoid taking topiramate and if possible, to avoid taking any medications. While we do prescribe many medications, including topiramate, we always begin with life style modification (diet, sleep, exercise), biofeedback or meditation, magnesium, CoQ10, and other supplements, acupuncture, and Botox injections.