Topiramate May Reduce Frequency and Severity of Migraine Headaches

Susan Farley
Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004

In a recent study, the antiepilepsy drug topiramate reduced the number of days that migraine sufferers experienced headaches, as well as reducing their need for pain relievers. Johnson & Johnson, which makes the drug under the name Topamax, funded this study and others that will test its effectiveness for treating alcoholism and weight loss. Results of this study showed that dosages of 100 to 200 mg per day reduced the frequency of migraine headaches from 2.4 to 2.1 days per month. Topiramate may produce harmful side effects, however?including paresthesia, fatigue, weight gain, diarrhea, nausea, and difficulty with memory. In fact, the FDA recently ordered the manufacturer to add to the warning label cautions regarding hyperthermia and oligohidrosis. Study author Jan Lewis Brandes of the Nashville Neuroscience Group wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "Topiramate appeared to be safe and had an acceptable tolerability profile."

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