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Topamax and weight loss/gain?

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Old 06-18-2009, 02:08 PM   #1
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Default Topamax and weight loss/gain?

My psychiatrist recently started me on Topamax off label as a mood stabilizer. One of the side effects is decreased appetite which can sometimes lead to anorexia. However, my main concern is this:
I have had a decreased appetite and have been eating less but I still eat a couple times a day, just smaller portions. I'm afraid my body will go into starvation mode and I will just remain the same weight or begin gaining weight. I can't force myself to eat more as is just makes me feel sick.

I have a brunch of a cup of soup or a half a sandwich. At dinner I will eat a thin sandwich and some baked chips. I cut out sugar and eat sugar free pudding and jell-o and use Splenda in my tea when I need a flavored drink instead of water. Does it seem likely that I can still lose weight? I will be adding a one mile walk into my daily routine and hopefully will then up that walk to two miles. (The weather has just been yucky in my area and haven't be able to start my regimen.)

Any and all info is much appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:10 AM   #2
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Its been cruddy here too, weather wise, rain rain rain. Are you counting your calories? you might be to low (or to high) try counting for a few days to see exactly what you are eating and take it from there.

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Old 06-19-2009, 12:18 PM   #3
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Yah, that's what the problem is for me.. the rain. I'm over in PA so it's been the thunderstorms and rain. I'm pretty sure my calories are definitely too low. I kind of can't control it though. I just don't have the appetite to force myself to eat a lot. I feel like I'll get sick if I eat too much. And then when I do eat, I guess my body is really sucking up the calories because I don't eat as much as I should.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #4
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My wife has been on Topamax to treat her headaches, and she has also experienced decreased appetite.

What we are really concerned about, however, is her decreased white blood cell count. That is a serious side effect she is experiencing. Her doctor is trying to decide whether to cut back on the dosage and see if her immune system rebounds, or whether she has to stop taking it all together.

It is the most effective medication she has taken for the headaches, but it is loaded with side effects.
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:31 PM   #5
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I have been on topomax too, try eating 100-200 calories 6 times a day (or whatever your caloric goal is) that should boost metabolism and still have you losing weight.

For me topomax makes me dumb, can't speak right, can't remember words, I just blank whcih is why I stopped it. But my dr. told me a little known fact about it, if you eat a banana when you take it that counteracts this side effect. Just thought i'd share
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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I'm curious about your doc's advice to eat a banana with it. Is it the potassium in the banana or what in the banana is supposed to be beneficial?
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:19 AM   #7
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I think you shouldn't eat too much banana. Do more exercise then you will lose your weight in a short period.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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The Dr. said it's not the potassium, it's one of those things they can't explain but have just figured out it has that effect, she said the pharma reps tell everyone that but it's not in the literature - heck if makes you not look like a blithering idiot, I'm all for it!
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:58 AM   #9
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I have been taking Topamax for about 2 years now to trat migraines what dosage do you take. At a cetain dosage my brain was very fuddled. I did exeperience a slight weight loss but I had also changed my diet ect. and I recently was sick with someting else and gained a bunch and had a hard time getting it off so don't know what effect the topmax had but I do know the doctor did tell me about the confusion
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:03 AM   #10
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When I was on it for migraines, I lost a ton of weight. But that's because one of the side effects is it makes carbs taste terrible - like you're sucking on a handful of pennies. I didn't notice a marked decrease in appetite - just in the foods I could eat.

I finally stopped taking it because it didn't help with the migraines enough to overcome how utterly stupid I looked to others when I was on it - constantly losing my train of thought, forgetting words, and spacing out mid-conversation. I found a holistic combo that works miracles for the migraines, and haven't had to take a pill or shot for them in years though, so my information about Topimax is from when it was first on the market. That's been a minute.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:13 AM   #11
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bacilli, I'd love to know the holistic combo that's working for you!

I went on Topamax 6-7 years ago, back when I was having daily migraines - I've been on a 400mg dose almost from the beginning. I just took myself off of it in May (I tapered down over a period of a month) and I'm controlling most of my migraines with diet, but I do still have a few each month (strangely, no more than I was having with the Topamax).

When I first started taking Topamax, I lost 30 pounds. I didn't become underweight, I simply went back to my normal weight after a mid-30's spread. Now that I'm not taking the Topamax, I'm gaining weight and fast. I eat low-fat, low-carb foods and eat only whole grains, no potatoes or sugar, I exercise several times a week (run at least two miles every day or every other day and do various strengthening and weight training exercises) and yet I've gained back 15 pounds! When is this going to stop and how can I control it?
Back when I first went on Topamax, it wasn't being prescribed for weight loss (in fact, I didn't know it was until today) so now I'm wondering if I should go back on it. My articulation problem could have been caused by the high dose I was taking so perhaps I should try a lower dose?
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:13 AM   #12
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I take feverfew daily, dosage depends on how likely I am to have a migraine. I've had migraines for 16 years, so I know that if I don't sleep well I'll have one. If I have too much sodium, same thing. Stress is also a big trigger for me - I have a very stressful job every day but if it's a particularly crazy day I know I'm in for a doozy of a migraine the next day.

I also have little roller balls (think 80's Bonne Bell sticky lipgloss container) filled with a healthy squirt of peppermint oil and topped off with jojoba oil all over. I keep one in my purse, one in my desk, one in each car, one in the bedroom, one in the downstairs bathroom ... if I feel even the suggestion of a migraine coming on, I rub it on my temples, the back of my neck, under my nose ...

I know it sounds insane, and my doctor things I'm a lunatic, but I swear it works. Not just for me, either. I've made rollerballs for 3 people at work, DH carries one, as does my mom. My 12 year old brother got a killer headache last weekend at my house and we got it to go away in 20 minutes.

The feverfew has been a headache remedy for ages, even though it's not widely known or used. It's cut my almost daily migraines down to one every few weeks, which the peppermint oil cuts out long before the auras take over. The oil also seems to work well for cluster headaches, one of the girls at work gets really bad clusters, and she's got them under control by raiding my desk.

I'm not a doctor, so take this as personal experience from 16 years of trial and error, and please talk to your neurologist or doctor before taking feverfew - while it has no real side effects, some people with allergies can be sensitive to it.
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
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I've heard feverfew works for many, but I've yet to try it. I might just have to check into it. I've had migraines for about thirty years so I too have learned to recognize when I'm headed for one.

I'll have to try your rollerball idea - I've not considered peppermint oil. I do have a small vial of eucalyptus oil/lotion that I have often used when a migraine is coming on. It doesn't always take it away, but it is somehow soothing to the pain.

My sleep patterns are also a big trigger. I tend to be a night owl and have a tendency to stay up too late - when I do, I pay for it. There's a sweetspot between midnight and 1:30am that I can get away with, any later than that I can guarantee a migraine.

My neck is also a major factor - if I am bent over work for too long or if I fall asleep on the couch with my neck in an odd position, I'm done for... Neck pain will do it to me everytime.

I can't eat nitrates or any processed food, nothing cured, no aged cheeses (oh, how I miss Parmesan), no msg, and I have to watch my intake of caffeine and wine carefully. I also have to watch my blood sugar - if I'm hungry and don't eat at least something, I'll end up with a migraine. I also have hormone related migraines, but those are getting fewer as I get older.

Stress has always been one of my triggers, but not in a conventional way. If experiencing high stress, it wouldn't trigger a migraine (unless I was stressed while pouring over papers - then the cause would be my neck, not the stress). Before my daily headaches (which I had for years), I always fell victim of the weekend headache. I'd work furiously all week and handle all that stress, but on the weekend when I could relax, that's when the headache would hit hard. Sometimes it was because I was sleeping in and again, changing up my sleep patterns, but usually it was simply because all the stress that had culminated through the week was being released and the chemicals in my brain would react.

I have peppermint oil in my cupboard and I believe I can find the applicator at my local natural food store along with the feverfew. I'll give it a try! I know I don't want to go back onto Topamax or any other medication (despite the weight gain!) Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:26 PM   #14
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i'm in a similar situation. I'm bipolar and I was put on topamax for the same reason. I've been on it for six years and I think your body adjusts to it. I used to have the decreased appetite, but that doesn't really happen so much anymore. I used to notice weeks when i was hungry a lot and other times when i wasn't hungry hardly at all. I think decreased appetite leading to annorexia is one of the rare side effects. Just watch how much your appetite has decreased and if your concerned, talk to your doctor.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:58 PM   #15
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Topamax made me feel fuzzy headed and i didn't find a huge change in appetite. i just didn't like it at all. i had a chance to go back on it a few weeks ago and told the Dr i didn't want to.
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