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Expert Warns Against Use of Epilepsy Drug for Treatment of Episodic Migraine in Adolescents
A research firm representative has cautioned against the side effects of the epilepsy drug Topamax (toparimate), which was recently approved as a preventive treatment for episodic migraines in teens.
Episodic migraines are migraines that involve 15 headaches a day per month, according to The Migraine Trust.
The side effects, said GlobalData therapy analyst for neurology Dr. Alvina To, “could undermine” the effectiveness of the drug, Pain Medicine News reported.
Dr. To recognizes the effectiveness of Topamax in the drug class to prevent kids’ and adolescents’ migraine. Migraine, she said, could interfere with children’s school work and interactions with family and friends. “The good news is that Topamax proved safe and well tolerated in this patient group,” she told Pain Medicine News.
Topamax has been approved for teens aged 12 to 17 years.
Dr. To, however, noted that epileptic drugs like Topamax comes with behavioral and cognitive side effects that include inability to focus and forgetfulness. Children taking the drug could also find themselves groping for words at times, she said.
Dr. To also emphasized on patient evaluation to determine if an adolescent is fit to take the drug.
“It is essential that all associated risks and benefits of Topamax are carefully assessed,” Dr. To told Pain Medicine News.
“As with all antiepileptic drugs, Topamax may also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients, as well as boosting the chances of cleft lip or cleft palate development in infants born to women who take the drug during pregnancy,” she said.
The FDA approved the use of Topamax after proving its safety and efficiency in a clinical trial involving 103 participants, the report said. Participants placed on Topamax reported a 72 percent decrease in migraine attacks, in contrast to the 44 percent in participants on placebo.
Common side effects of Topamax include paresthesia or a burning or prickling feeling in the extremities, upper respiratory infection, stomach pain, and loss of appetite, Medical News Today reported.
Adolescent migraine sufferers have to take a 100mg tablet of Topamax daily to benefit from the drug.
The FDA first approved Topamax for preventing epileptic seizures in 1996. It has been in use for migraine prevention for adults since 2004, Medical News Today noted.
Other preventive treatments for migraines in general include high blood pressure medications, Botox, and antidepressants, NPR reported.
Safer, non-invasive, and side effect free alternatives like headache relief creams also work in easing symptoms of migraine which include light and sound sensitivity, throbbing pain, and tense muscles.
Thermal-Aid, one of the popular, FSAstore.com available migraine relief brands, offers a deep-penetrating headache relief system that includes a headache relief cream and an all-natural cooling pack to relieve pain and eye pressure. The cooling pack is made from organic malleable terrycloth and lab-processed corn that retains cold temperatures longer without retaining moisture.
Other brands in the market like Doctor’s Pain Formula includes an eye mask and ear plug in its headache relief package. UK-made MigraCap, meanwhile, delivers migraine relief through an all-in-one lycra cap and cooling pack.
At least 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines, according to The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study.
The AMPP study also revealed that 50 to 80 percent of these migraine sufferers could benefit from preventive treatment modalities.