Thursday, March 14, 2013

Medication Experimentation - Topamax

We interrupt this newly developing series for some Life Stuff – Psychiatry and Medications update.

Hello darling Readerfaces. It’s that time of year again where everything is bad because the universe hates me. Stupid insensitive universe not giving a shit about me. Grr. Fortunately I had an appointment to see Psychiatrist at this exact time. In an extraordinary twist of behavior I actually talked to Psychiatrist about stuff. I blame this on being both highly, highly irritable and a bit impulsive.  Lately everything has just been….

  • Everything feels empty and utterly pointless. All things. Especially my life. (This causes extreme levels of snark)
  • My Body Dysmorphic Disorder has been extra bad… you’ll hear more about this tomorrow.
  • With a direct correlation – my bulimia has been worse, not terrible, but 3 times in the last week as opposed to once or twice in a month is a step backwards.
  • Everything makes me angry. Everything. I screamed at the wind today for blowing too hard. I wish that was an exaggeration.
  • So, so irritable. I want to shove socks into everyone’s mouths and duct tape them all shut. Everyone in the whole world.
  • I’m not handling stress very well.
  • My boredom has reached a soul level (and I don’t even believe I have a soul). I just want excitement to happen. I have no desire to pursue making it happen.
  • I’ve been having all of the sleep. All of it. I never sleep. Now I sleep all the time. This is wrong.

The good thing is, I’m noting it and I’m not letting it rage out of control, even though I really want to let everyone know just how much everything their doing is extra douche-tastic. Behavior is controllable.

Another good thing, Psychiatrist is kind of starting to redeem himself. First, he gave me the option of just getting through this with therapy, or I could try additional medication. That in itself surprised me. So I asked him what my options would be. He went back through everything I’ve taken before, and mentioned without me saying anything that because I’m very concerned with my weight that he wouldn’t want to give me anything that would add to that distress! Score!  So what’s my new drug?


It’s an anticonvulsant originally used to treat epilepsy. It’s also approved to treat migraines. It’s also been used to treat bipolar, and sometimes to augment psychotropics, or counteract the weight gain associated with antidepressants. Recent clinical reports indicate that it may have mood stabilizing properties. Other off-label and investigational uses of topiramate include the treatment of essential tremor, bulimia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcoholism, smoking cessation,  idiopathic intracranial hypertension, neuropathic pain, migraine headache, cocaine dependence, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Topiramate is also being studied with a mixture of phentermine to form a drug called Qsymia for the treatment of obesity.

If it can help me with my migraines, potential alcohol problems, bulimia, and help me lose weight… I would be hyper impressed.

That being said. Let’s look at what can go wrong too!

Side Effects!

Side-effects reported by > 10% of subjects in at least one clinical study (listed by prevalence):

Parathesia (numbness & tingling) (23.7%) At nearly 25% this one is probably likely
Upper respiratory tract infection (17.5%) Hmmmm.
Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
Diarrhea, weight loss (16.8%) Ew.
Nausea (15.4%)
Anorexia (loss of appetite) (13.3%)
Memory Problems (11.2%)
Dry mouth, increased thirst, drowsiness, decreased sweating, increased body temperature, and hot, dry skin; (So what you’re saying is it’ll make me hotter? Haha)
Confusion, slowed thinking, memory problems, trouble concentrating, problems with speech or balance; (Who needs to not blow up society with my job anyways)
Vomiting (not such a deterrent for a bulimic), loss of appetite (hopefully), tired feeling, irregular heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out; or (and the rest are fail)
Severe pain in your side or lower back, painful or difficult urination. Sudden vision loss, pain around or behind your eyes;   (how do these things count as acceptable to give to the public?)

Less serious Topamax side effects may include:

Mild dizziness, feeling nervous;
Numbness or tingly feeling;

Side-effects most frequently leading to discontinuation of therapy with topiramate:

Psychomotor slowing (4.1%)
Memory problems (3.3%)
Fatigue (3.3%)
Confusion (3.2%)
Somnolence (Drowsiness) (3.2%)

On the plus side there are way fewer side effects than most of the other drugs I’ve been given. And I actually would mind having some of the others. We’ll just have to wait and see how this whole thing goes and I will keep you updated with my progress. I’m a little excited that that this one has actually been used in trials to treat BPD. Here goes nothing. 


  1. Never fails to crack me up when the list of 'potential side effects' is read, and the background video has the presumed subject of these horrific side effects golfing, laying on an outdoor hammock, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway... now, TRULY funny would be if the FDA would require these side effects to be ILLUSTRATED by the subject as they were being read!!

    Remember 'Airplane' where Captain Oveur was struck by each and every one of the effects of eating the contaminated fish as the Doctor, played by Leslie Nielsen, read them off?? HA!!

    1. Right!

      It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Try our new product! It'll make your life SUPER AWESOME! (side effects may include AIDS, nuclear war, and puppy kicking.)

  2. I took topamax over the summer and it wasn't good. I got the severe lower back pain and a headache that I can only describe as feeling like I was wearing swimming cap that was two sizes too small. But the most notable side effect was suicidality that came on over about a two week period and had me actively planning to kill myself by the third week. Be careful with that stuff.

    1. Hmmm, thank you for this warning! I will make sure to pay extra close attention to weather this happens to me or not.

  3. Hi Haven. I was on topomax . Yeah, they call it the skinny and stupid medicine. I took it so the seroquel didnt make me gain any more weight. It gave me a metallic taste in my mouth and it did keep weight off. But I was high as a kite at the time. Idk how I'd feel on it being depressed.

    I'm sorry you are having a rough time. Hang in there. I miss you on another site.

    1. ::hugs:: I'm disappearing from the real world for a bit so maybe I'll have a chance to see you there ;)

  4. Topamax --- I took it for two months last fall for migraine prevention. I did not experience the weight loss benefits at my dosage but it made me loopy, forgetful, and emotionally flat. It also made soda flat - that is a true side effect. Who knew how much I would miss carbonation! I went off and am on a beta blocker instead, which works well for migraine prophylaxis and ANXIETY (physical part).

    1. If it makes pop go flat for me I will have to go off it. Seriously. I am addicted to seltzer water. It's almost all I drink. I need the carbonation haha. Too funny.

  5. BTW, since the beta blocker relieves the physical effects of anxiety, I find that I'm rarely drinking - which I evidently used to self-medicate my anxiety.

  6. Hi everyone, and hello Haven. I found your blog yesterday and I've been catching up since. So far, I love it! I have BPD, all of it, I'm a complete mess pretty frequently. (I swear to God I'll keep this intro brief.) But-no one told me I was diagnosed for nearly 15 years! No any of the several dr.s I'd seen (who all diagnosed independently), none of my fam, ect. So I've been thinking I'm a pretty unlucky, tragedy magnet, living among rude/inconsiderate a-holes my whole life. Finally, I'm told. So, very happy to have stumbled on your blog and will be following (gotta figure out how to sub). I'm very intrigued by this med you've mentioned, can't wait to see how it affects your BPD. Thanks for reading my rambles!

  7. I hope this works out well for you. I had a lot of the same symptoms you have when I started taking it. 3 mths later it was worse. I wanted to cut my wrist just to watch blood pour I was so bored and empty. I wasn't sad when I thought about killing myself, it seemed like a cure for boredom. When I did get sad it was a little more strange than usual. I compared myself to a pound puppy talking to a friend and realized if it was that bad...maybe the pills were making it worse. 'You know what's worse than being a dog in a kill shelter? Being a dog in a no kill shelter. You have no person or place to belong to but noone will let you die when thats all that you have to look forward to.' Oh and that tingly feeling in your face and hands doesn't seem to ever get better.

  8. Living with migraine is very toughest thing in our life. many people are finding the migraine head ache due to some stress or missed habits like smoking the nervous system sends the pain signal to our brain. one great solution names as Topomax is designed to reduce pain but it will not cure fully.


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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