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Migraines and Headaches Community
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Avatar universal

Anyone taking Topamax or Elavil??

I have recently been diagnosed with migraines without headaches and my doctor wants me to start taking Topamax. I am a little worried about taking Topamax because I have heard that it has horrible side effects.

I heard Elavil also works to prevent migraines.
  
I was just wondering what other peoples experience was with either one of these drugs. Any input would be greatly appreciated!!
29 Responses
Avatar universal
Neither one of these worked for me...I had migraines for over 30 years. I found Jack Samuels website and it changed my life when I got the information I needed about MSG.  Check it out www.truthinlabeling.org.

MSG-sensitive people report reactions ranging from simple skin rash to severe depression and life-threating physical conditions.

Difficulty in diagnosing MSG-sensitivity is compounded by the industry practice of illegally advertising "No MSG," "No MSG Added," or "No Added MSG" on labels when products do contain MSG.tening physical conditions.

Blessings, Judy
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. It seems like MSG is in alot of food. What foods ARE safe to eat than??

I am really willing to try anything at this point.

thanks again!!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. It seems like MSG is in alot of food. What foods ARE safe to eat than??

I am really willing to try anything at this point.

thanks again!!
Avatar universal
Judy_77, YOU SAVED MY LIFE..literally.......after 4 years of the ********, doctor's, ENT's,
Allergist, Chiropractor's...everything from herbs/antibiotics/allergy med's year round/tubo blast's up my sinus/neck cracking/back cracking/pills/pills/pills/3 CAT scan's/2 MRI's..and this last one wanted to do surgery........since reading your suggestions this past Sunday..it is Friday...I HAVE BEEN HEADACHE FREE FOR THE PAST 2 DAYS.....ZERO, NADDA..where I've have had them literally 200 days this past year and 5 straight weeks, headaches on a scale of 1-10...was a 10 by the time I went to bed, even after taking med's, 800mg ib etc.  I went off of everything, AllegraD nose sprays, vitamins...nothing..just upped my water to at least 9-8oz's and at little, organic veggies, organice rice cracker's..little organic meat (little).....Kashi puffs with this potatoe (non MSG) milk I got online (organic) you make..it's really good, oatmeal, organic egg whites (I eat 12 a day).....lots of organic veggies and fruits where I peel...total dedox, NO HEADACHES..fyi, one of the main culprites I think was the digestive enzymes I was taking, doubling up on..for my health..which I very healthy..108 lbs 5 feet 2 inches, chlo 157 HGL 68, sugar level low, blood pressure PERFECT...never any signs of allergies, no nose dripping etc..just back headaches and all those doctor's were treating me for allergies, when now reading what Judy suggested..it all makes since...I'm not allergic..just was having reactions to 2 TOXIC THINGS..MSG AND ASPARTAME.  I'm so pissed off at all these doctor's that I've seen, I want to go to the White House and demand to see the PRESIDENT in person.  Listen people...the headaches we are experiencing are probably you are reacting to something you are eating.......putting in your body..oh and fyi, aspartame is now in REGULAR gum...(not the sugar free gum).
Avatar universal
Hi, I have been taking a very low dose of Topamax for probably a year now and it has really helped me.
I have ocular migraines but had begun having daily over the temperol/left eye pain migraine pain during the day.  Working for a doctor he tried me on the Topamax at just the 25mg and it stopped them completely.  IF I get really stressed out or very tired and have a break thru headache in that same area all I have to do is take 50 mg for a few nights to break the cycle then I drop back to the 25mg.  I have had no bad side effects at all from them but then I am on the low dosage.
We have a patient at our office though who has Horners Syndrome and his allergist put him on allergy medicine plus a high dose of Topomax and it has completely saved that man's life so he can enjoy life again without severe headaches.
Anything a person takes can have side effects, it just depends on the person.  You can hear horror stories from anyone on anything, so do what is best for you and listen to your doctor.  If it doesn't work for you then try something else.
Avatar universal
I meant to say, aspartame is in REGULAR Wrigley's Spearmint gum now, not ONLY in the sugar free gum.  Thanks again Judy for helping me in the direction that helped me, I've always stayed away from Chinese / asian foods because of the headaches I would get...just didn't realize MSG was in so many of the other things that I had been eating, took 2 days off complete detox to not have headaches.
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it.

I just found out that Topamax can increase kidney stone develpment.

I have a history of developing kidney stones. (I had it with both my pregnancies). So I think my doctor is going to want to put me on Elavil instead.

I am just concerned about weight gain because I hear that is one of its side effects.

Anybody have any experience with this??
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it.

I just found out that Topamax can increase kidney stone develpment.

I have a history of developing kidney stones. (I had it with both my pregnancies). So I think my doctor is going to want to put me on Elavil instead.

I am just concerned about weight gain because I hear that is one of its side effects.

Anybody have any experience with this??
Avatar universal
I have had migraines since the age of 12 and I am now 47.  I have taken 50mg Imitrex tablets plus injections of 6mgs if needed for several years now and has worked most of the time for me.  Then the migraines started getting worse a couple years ago.  They were following my menstrual cycle and could last for days.  Nothing seemed to give me relief.  I had changed doctors and he asked me about trying Topomax.  I take one 50mg every morning and two at night.  I have fewer migraines and headaches in general than I have ever had.  I even lost some weight!!  It did take a little adjusting to at first, but not too long.  My feet tingled and it causes dry mouth.  Tingling went away when he adjusted dosage.  I no longer have dry mouth, but still have a healthy habit of drinking lots of water.  I have no other side affects that I know of from taking this med.  I couldn't of asked for anything better!  I suffered for so long and highly recommend it to anyone as long as your doctor approves.  
341042 tn?1244780027
Hello... another side effect of Topamax is it can inflame your pancreas. I ended up in the ER with the infection. It had been helping with my migraines, but it does have some nasty side effects. I am taking Elavil now... it has been working well. I have also heard it can cause weight gain, but it hasn't for me. I think it's different for everyone. Another thing that has helped me.. I broke the cycle of rebound migraines I was getting from painkillers. If you take them too much, you can give yourself worse migraines than you had in the first place...
Avatar universal
I could be a sales rep for Elavil, I feel so strongly about how good it is.  Yes, there is a weight gain issue but only for 25% of those who take it.  I'm one of the 25%.  So if you would try it, you would know pretty fast if you are one of the 25% or not.  It would make you crave sweets.  Some people say they tried taking 25 mg a night and it didn't work at all.  Some people respond at that level but I had to take 150 mg.  It is safe at higher dosages - it is used quite often for depression at the higher dosage.  You usually take it at bedtime because it can make you sleepy - which is often a good thing.  It makes you sleep hard - so you get restorative sleep.  It's not really hard to ween of - so you can always try it and if you start gaining weight - go off of it and try one of the other meds.  Good Luck.
Avatar universal
my daughter and neice both used topamax and both felt loop.  They had a hard time concentrating in school (both are straight A students)  felt spacey so they both stopped using it.
Avatar universal
I tried taking Topomax 2 different times in my life and both were awful!  I do not recommend this drug to ANYONE.  It has far worse side effects than benefits.  During both courses of taking Topomax, I had horrible mood swings and was a raging *****.  I'm normally pretty easy going, but I would snap like a twig at the littlest things.  I never felt like myself, I always felt a little drugged and sluggish.  I suffered through about 3 months of it both times and had to stop.
Also- if you are a girl, be careful about taking this with birthcontrol.  Read all the info that comes with the medication.
My migraines are awful, and when i had them, they were just as awful.  It didn't do much for my migraines, I didn't notice fewer of them or less intense migraines..nothing.  But I did notice all the side effects of the drug.
Of course, everyone is different, I would suggest trying it and tell the people close to you that you are taking it, if they tell you that your personality has changed, stop it.  My family and boss tried to suck it up and deal with my miserable attitude with the hope it would help my migraines....it was nice of them, but they eventually couldn't take it any more!!!
Avatar universal
Just remember everyone reacts differently to every medication. I have been on Topamax for about 7 months now and I will tell you I feel like it has saved my life. I was getting these horrible migraines that Imitrex was helping at first, but eventually could not help. Once I started taking Topamax I have only had one migraine and that was triggered because I was in a room where someone was wearing a very strong lavendar scent. I have experienced some tingling in my fingers and some weight loss (which I am happy about), but other than that there have been no ill side effects. My husband and I were concerned when I initially went on it because of the potential for the bad side effects so he "was on the look out", but thankfully they never came. Just keep your options open, do your research, and be sure your friends and family no what is going on so they can see warning signs if there are any ill side effects that you may not see.

Best of luck to you!!
Avatar universal
I have been suffering from headaches since I was 10 years old.  I was finally formally diagnosed and treated for migraines a two and half years ago.  My neurologist prescribed 10Mg of Elavil daily and I loved it!!  It completely changed my life.  From having at least 5 to 6 migraines a month, I only experienced at least 3 or 4 migraines during the two and a half years that I was taking Elavil.  During that time I did not experience any side effects or any weight gain.  
Unfortunately, last month my migraines relapsed and came back with a vengeance and my neurologist had to change my medication.  She started me on Topamax it was getting rid of my migraines but at the 75mg but I could not handle the side effects I was experiencing the tingling in my fingers, numbness on my toes, and face, loss of appetite which brought  some weight loss (which I am happy about).  So my neurologist decided to lower my dosage to 50mg a day and that seems to be working with the migraines and the side effects.  Right now I am

I am however, experiencing some mood changes or symptoms of depression is this normal has anybody else experienced this?  Could this be associated to the weaning off the Elavil?
Avatar universal
This really bothers me.  By the way hope you are feeling better today.  Still burns the heck out of me.  10mg of Elavil is a baby dose - seriously.  If that amount worked for so long and after a time stopped working, why didn't the doctor first try upping your dose of Elevil a little.  Pediatric patients can take 50mg - Adults can take 100 mg a night or more - obviously depending on the person.  I am not a doctor but this is such common sense AND every accredited journal I have read says that if you have had success with an anitdeppresant regimen then at least stay with that line of meds first.  Why switch to anti-seizure meds?????  Is this because a drug rep stopped by this week???  Now, I truly apologize if you asked to be switched or wanted to try topamax.  Even so did the neurologist take the time to explain your options?  And yes, you are most likely experiencing mood change for one of two reasons, its either the your neurotransmitter reuptake kicking in now or you have a touch of depression and that dose of Elavil was keeping it in check.  I am not against Topamax, it helps a lot of people but I think patients have the right to be educated by the doctor who is prescribing them meds.  I don't know your whole story so I apologize and will step off my soapbox quietly if you give different information.  But if you want me to tell you or maybe doc G would want to step in and tell you some of your options.  Short answer - yep the mood changes are most likely from the weaning off - the depression may go away, stay the same or possibly increase.  Take Care.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them.  I am still not feeling better.  According to my doctor her reasoning for changing the meds was because the pattern of my migraines has changed.  In the past my migraines would begin on the right side and go all around in a circle until they finally went away.  However these new migraines that I had been getting were not following the same pattern they were just staying on the back of my head.  She sent me to get an MRI (I have an appointment to review the results next week) and prescribed the Topamax.  Since she's the doctor I didn't even question her strategy I just went with it.  At my appointment I will ask my doctor why she didn't up my dose of Elavil since it had been working so good for more than two years.  Because I don't like this depressing mood. Again thanks for the information.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the response.  I personally do not see any difference that would warrant Topamax over Elevil based on the symptom change but you may have told her more.  Regardless, I want to go the Elevil route with a higher dose - you are still talking small doses, I bet she will go for it with no toruble.  Good Luck with the tests and let us know how you are doing and how the tests come back - only if you want.  I'm pulling for you!
373683 tn?1219000812
Hi am new here. I was on topamx and worked for awhile, then i became almost ammune to it and it stopped working........
Avatar universal
I took Topamax it gave me terrible stomach pains and also caused me to have a kdiney infection with white blood cells in my urine.  I now have gastristis in my stomach and have to take Nexium for that and also an antibiotic for the kidney infection.  I told  my doctor it hurt my stomach and he upped my dose from 100mg to 200mg and then the problems really started.  If you do go on this drug look up the side effects first.  It does make you loose weight but do you want to damage your kidneys and stomach like I did?? It didn't even help my migraines that much and neither does the Zomig I am taking Inderal now and seems to help but makes  you very tired.  Also the Topamax makes you forget things and can damage your eyes.  Just be careful....... Candy
Avatar universal
Taking Topamax now.  I have taken literally every other medication out for migraines and many others that aren't generally prescribed for migraines.  I've had migraines for 13 years now and have them roughly 3 times a week.  I'm keeping a journal on here tracking my weight, side effects, and other details how Topamax is making me feel.  Honestly it's not as bad as others like Imitrex.  I'm just on 25mgs right now so I haven't been moved up yet.  Thus far, not bad but not good.  Hasn't really helped much with the migraines/general headaches but I'm only in the beginning stages.  I'll post every day in my journal if anyone gets bored and wants to see how this stuff works.  Also got my sleep pattern tested.  Might be something for ya'll to check into.  Studies show if you aren't getting enough oxygen when you sleep, it affects you the next day.  Who knows.  Might be as simple as that.
419126 tn?1242415770
HEY THERE!!  i have been on topomax and imitrex. i found that neither of them really worked for me. topomax made me very moody. other then that i had no other side effects besides the horrible migraines. so i cant really say that i dont recommend either, they just didnt work for me. everyone is different.
i decided to take initiative and changed my diet and get more exercise.... and its paid off. i use to get 3-4 migraines a week.... now i get 1 every couple of weeks. i really believe that food has a lot to do with it.

jkgirl- i was at the ER with a migraine once and they gave me oxygen, there was almost immediate relief. i was amazed. i have been there several times for migraines... but only a few times has the oxygen helped. but... its better for you then any prescription... im all for the oxygen!!
Avatar universal
I took Elavil.  It didn't help migraines and the side effects were wretched.  I'm not usually one to experience side effects, but I did with this medication.  Tired , tired, tired, twitching, spasms, horrible dry mouth.
I had luck with both naturopathy and chiropracty. Naturopath helped with diet etc, finding hidden triggeres, allergens etc  and the chiropractor (which netted the best results for me) helped with alignment and pressure on nerves.  Beware your doc may not like to hear of either of these alternative health options, but they helped me greatly. Best of luck.
Avatar universal
Hi,

I have been suffering Migraine type headaches since being injured by an explosion in Iraq in April 08. My neurologist first tried Pemelor (very similar to Elavil) as a preventative. we started at 25mg at night which was OK. It cut my headaches in half. (I was suffering from 2-3 migraine like headaches a day!, Although they would only last an hour or two). I was extremely tired, but otherwise noticed no side effects. After two weeks we ramped up to 50mg at night. I noticed a very slight additional decrease in headaches...but a big increase in side effects. Most noticeable, I began to get mood swings. I would feel happy or sad for no reason--I wouldn't know why I felt the way I did. I also had one panic attack--that was my sign I needed to try to decrease the dosage (I had never been this panicky before--even when I was being shot at in Iraq! And thsi over something small, trivial, silly).

So, now I am on 25mg of Pemelor and am trying 25mg of Topamax both at bedtime. I have noticed no big side effects with the Topamax and it has been amazing...I have had 3 migraines this week...a big step forward for me. The only thing I've noticed is some slight hand tremors--but not bad.

For me....this has been a blessing....I'll take ths side effects over the pain thus far.

Nate
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