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Seizure Medicine to Prevent Migraine Headaches
|Brand Name||Generic Name||Chemical Name|
How It Works
Why It Is Used
These seizure medicines, when they are taken regularly, may help to prevent migraine headaches.
How Well It Works
These medicines can reduce the number of migraines you get each month by more than half. This happened to about 50 out of 100 people who took these medicines to prevent migraines.1
Common side effects of topiramate include:
- A prickling or tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
- Lack of coordination.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Inability to concentrate or speak clearly.
Topiramate has been linked in some people to a potentially life-threatening condition called metabolic acidosis, which happens when there is too much acid in the blood. Symptoms include fatigue, lack of appetite, and rapid breathing (hyperventilation). If left untreated, metabolic acidosis can lead to death.
In rare cases, topiramate may cause serious side effects, such as:
- Glaucoma, which can lead to blindness.
- An inability to sweat, which can lead to life-threatening fever or heatstroke.
Side effects from valproate may include:
- Tremor or shakiness.
- Hair loss.
- Weight gain.
- Headache pain that is different than pain from a migraine headache.
Uncommon but potentially life-threatening side effects of valproate include:
- Liver failure.
- Inflammation of the pancreas.
- Elevated levels of ammonia in the blood (hyperammonemia).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on seizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take seizure medicines should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take seizure medicines and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Women who take seizure medicines need to talk with their doctors if they are considering becoming pregnant. Seizure medicines may harm a fetus. Valproate is more likely to cause serious birth defects, especially if it is taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Topiramate may make birth control pills less effective. A woman who is taking topiramate may need to use another method of birth control to reduce her chances of becoming pregnant.
If you have had kidney stones, be sure to tell your doctor this before you take topiramate. Using topiramate may increase your risk of having kidney stones again.
|By:||Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: June 10, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
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