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Starting Topamax... Just HOW Stupid Will I Be?


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After a hypomanic episode after increasing my Effexor to 300 mg, my pdoc and I wanted to add another mood stabilizer. My Bipolar II is mild... I haven't had a hypomanic episode in 4-5 years, and this one was only caused due to an increase in medication. (I'm taking my Effexor back down to 225 mg daily because of it.) I didn't want to add a mood stabilizer that made me gain weight considering my mild experiences with Bipolar II -- otherwise, I would have added a more "hardcore" one.

Therefore, my pdoc prescribed Topamax. I'm actually the one who suggested it, even though I am worried about the "dopamax" affect. I was on it shortly before, and while I didn't lose any weight, I didn't gain any. That was one of my main considerations. However, there were a lot of other considerations. Effexor makes me crave alcohol. (So did Pristiq, which is related, so I'm not surprised. That was when I was briefly on Topamax before. It helped!) Apparently, it helps with impulse control activities -- binge eating and shopping compulsions!!! It apparently helps with OCD as well! And I get bad headaches daily (I don't know what classifies as a migraine, so I'm not sure if that's what they are)... I take so much aspirin that I get bruises EVERYWHERE for no reason whatsoever! I'm pleased that it will help that problem.

However, I'm on disability for severe depression and anxiety... but the Effexor has been a dream drug, a lifesaver. My depression is basically gone!!! (THANK GOD!) I have honestly not felt this good since before I was eight-years-old. And this particular depressive episode started in February 2009... so I am more than grateful and thrilled that I'm finally doing well. I still have SOME bad days, but my bad days aren't too bad. I also have some depressive habits that I need to get out of. I'm still dealing with extreme anxiety, but I'm doing my best to work on that as well -- my pdoc recommended a workbook which I'm going to start. I'm also dating a guy (kind of... we've only had three dates...) with anxiety and he suggested that we work on it together.

My anxiety is mostly about getting out of the house. And with my depression gone, I plan on applying for part-time jobs. I truly think that will help my anxiety. I have 4.5 years experience in the restaurant business and have worked every position except for cook, so I was thinking about applying for a bartender or cocktail waitress job. That sounds all great, right? But maybe those won't be the jobs for me on Topamax. Like I said, I was only on it VERY briefly before (something like 2.5 weeks). I certainly had the Dopamax effect.

Does the Dopamax effect subside in any way after you've been on it for a while? I know I may not get the same side effects as last time since I'm on a different cocktail, but Lamictal already makes me forgetful. I'm praying that somebody will tell me, "Why, yes, Daisy! The Dopamax effect goes away after you've been on it for a while! Don't worry! You'll be able to work in the restaurant business again!"

I am so excited about the prospect of getting a job. But it affected my job a little last time when I was working in an office. I could deal with that. But working in a restaurant? I CAN'T be forgetful and stupid!!! It just won't work. But I need to go back to work badly... I miss it, to be honest. Does the Dopamax effect subside after some time goes by???

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My problems are mainly with speaking. I have trouble finding words or remembering what I wanted to say if i had a number of things on my mind. It has gotten better, but I still have some problems. I make gestures when I am speaking and sometimes people give me the word or I think of a substitute and I am getting good at saying "I'll get back to you" when I can't remember things. 

Not sure if I can blame that all on topomax. It could just be me. It is supposed to get better, according to my pdoc.

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18 minutes ago, confused said:

My problems are mainly with speaking. I have trouble finding words or remembering what I wanted to say if i had a number of things on my mind. It has gotten better, but I still have some problems. I make gestures when I am speaking and sometimes people give me the word or I think of a substitute and I am getting good at saying "I'll get back to you" when I can't remember things. 

Not sure if I can blame that all on topomax. It could just be me. It is supposed to get better, according to my pdoc.

Thanks! How long have you been on Topamax?

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I was on Topamax for a year (I lost too much weight, couldn't gain on it) and was on 400mg, and after the initial titration to 200mg it took about a month to lose the dopamax effect, and no dopamax effect at 400mg.

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24 minutes ago, San said:

I was on Topamax for a year (I lost too much weight, couldn't gain on it) and was on 400mg, and after the initial titration to 200mg it took about a month to lose the dopamax effect, and no dopamax effect at 400mg.

Thank you so much!!!

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7 hours ago, melissaw72 said:

The only problem I had with topamax was the side effect of prickly feelings in my feet, ankles, hands, and wrists.  It didn't have any other side effects.  I went off of it for the side effect I mentioned.

I actually never had it when I was on it last time, but maybe I wasn't on it long enough...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm happy to report that Topamax has not made me stupid like it did last time. I'm actually doing very well on it side effects-wise. In fact, the only one I have is that cokes taste awful. I drink my Diet Dr Peppers anyways because I'm so very addicted...

Other than that? Not one side effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This may sound crazy, but I was really messed up on brand name Topamax. I was on 200 mgs twice a day for bad migraines. When the generic came out, I was still on 200 mgs twice a day, but for some reason, I wasn't in that same stupor (I mean on brand name, I couldn't tell you how I got home some days). 

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  • 2 months later...

This information is very helpful. I know this is an old thread but, good info is good info. I started topomax 25mg bid last week. I'm assuming I'll go to 50mg bid when I see my pdoc in a couple days. I worry about side effects but I've talked to 3 different people who all said if you can get through the titration period and the following month, the benefits are well worth it. Body dysmorphia and megarexia are serious issues I struggle with. That's why the appetite suppression side effect interests me. Anyway, ANY feedback would be awesome!!!!

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I found, for the first two months, that the appetite suppression came from being nauseated as hell twenty-four hours a day. Eating became physically painful. So yeah, I lost a bunch of weight, and came out of the experience with what I guess was a much smaller stomach capacity. Which in all honesty was not what I needed, but there you are.

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I currently am on.... ummm...ha jk i am on 100mg and the only side effects i have is certain foods and drinks taste weird to me now and i have tingly feelings and yes it's hard for me to find certain words like my brain get's in a cluster. I was put on it because I gained weight on Seroquel XR .. I have lost some, not drastically but I haven't gained... which I am happy with. All and all... I really don't notice terrible side effects, maybe give it a try and if you have the dopamax you can always come off of it. Good Luck!

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9 hours ago, Ironman7 said:

This information is very helpful. I know this is an old thread but, good info is good info. I started topomax 25mg bid last week. I'm assuming I'll go to 50mg bid when I see my pdoc in a couple days. I worry about side effects but I've talked to 3 different people who all said if you can get through the titration period and the following month, the benefits are well worth it. Body dysmorphia and megarexia are serious issues I struggle with. That's why the appetite suppression side effect interests me. Anyway, ANY feedback would be awesome!!!!

I am on 100 mg. At first all cokes tasted awful, but I can now happily drink my Diet Dr Peppers. I honestlly have no side effects at all!

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Thanks guys. New side effect. My forearms are getting extreme muscle pump feeling from ordinary daily activities. I should have mentioned I was on topomax a couple years ago but I relapsed and stopped taking it. I got up to 100mg bid last time and that muscle pump feeling was intense like it is now. It just started yesterday. Today is day 7 on topomax. I actually have to stop typing every couple minutes to shake out my arms. Last night I had a very bizarre case of restless legs. I've never felt anything like it. I woke up at 2:30 am with it and flopped around for hours. I finally just got up at around 5. I feel like shit today. Any insight?  Thanks

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3 hours ago, Ironman7 said:

Thanks guys. New side effect. My forearms are getting extreme muscle pump feeling from ordinary daily activities. I should have mentioned I was on topomax a couple years ago but I relapsed and stopped taking it. I got up to 100mg bid last time and that muscle pump feeling was intense like it is now. It just started yesterday. Today is day 7 on topomax. I actually have to stop typing every couple minutes to shake out my arms. Last night I had a very bizarre case of restless legs. I've never felt anything like it. I woke up at 2:30 am with it and flopped around for hours. I finally just got up at around 5. I feel like shit today. Any insight?  Thanks

This is definitely something I would tell your DR about as soon as possible, whether it be your pdoc or your general DR.  Idk what the actual problem is, but if it were me with the symptoms you described, I would be going the DR right away.  Either that or call DRs office and tell them what is going on, and let them decide whether you should be seen in an appt or not.

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