Topamax and Alcohol

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angelsgirl321
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/13/2007 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all...
 
 I just started taking Topamax for my migraines and on my Rx it says to not drink alcohol while taking this medication... My doctor didn't say anything about this to me. I was just wondering if anyone taking Topamax knows anything about it? I'm just wondering if this means no alcohol at all or just don't drink everyday. Well, thanks!
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on. -R. Frost


CRANKY 1
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Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 2/15/2007 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Angelsgirl321,

First, let me welcome you to the Migraine board.  All of our members have trouble with different types of migraine/headache attacks, so I'm sure that someone can identify with your situation.

You said you have been put on Topamax.  Well, good luck.  This is miracle drug for some, but for me it was a nightmare.  Every side effect listed on the documentation that came from the pharmacy, I got.  And bad.  It is crucially important that you titrate (change dosage) on this medication really slowly.  The faster you change, the more severe the side effects will be.

I ended up on 400mg per day, with every side effect on the list.  I was practically brain damaged, and in fact, even though I've been off the Topamax for almost two years, I still have not regained my former state of cognitive abilities.  I don't think my thought processes, verbal skills, and memory retention will ever get back to where they were before I took the drug.  I was practically incoherent Christmas before last, and only remember a few miscellaneous minutes of the day.

It is crucial that you study up on all information you can find on the drug.  You cannot rely on your doctor or pharmacist to give you all the information you need to know.

Alcohol is bad to mix with pretty much all medication.  That's any alcohol at all.  It is critically important that you read the fine print on the information that came with your Topamax, and follow the warnings, expecially to avoid alcohol.  If you are on practically any medication, you should probably avoid alcohol. 

I admit that I've had some alcohol a few times over the past few years when I shouldn't have, and the result hasn't been pretty.  Your tolerance is changed by the medication, and the way it affects you changes.  Back in October, I went to a yearly convention I attend.  Well, I can knock back mixed drinks much faster than they have time to affect me.  Therefore,  I slammed three double White Russians faster than I was feeling them.  All of a sudden I was totally smashed.  I dropped something on the floor, and when I bent down to pick it up, I slammed my head on the bar, giving myself a concussion, and I hit the floor like a stone.  It took three people to pick me back up, judging from all the fingerprint bruises I had the next day.  My forehead made me look like a Klingon.  I was out on my feet for about 25 minutes after I hit my head.  It took a big, burly fireman to walk me back to my room.  I have no recollection of that time.

I guess the bottom line is "ALCOHOL BAD".  You don't know what kind of interaction it will have on your body chemistry, while on medication, and it is much safer to avoid taking any chances.  Some combinations could be deadly.

Good Luck and let us know how you are doing.

Leigh Ann cool


"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


angelsgirl321
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/15/2007 6:37 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks so much for the advice...

I rarely drink anyways, but I just wanted to make sure.

My doc. started me off just taking 25mg a day the first week.... then 50mg a day 2nd week... 75mg a day 3rd week and then finally 100mg's a day from then on... so far, so good. I haven't experienced any side effects yet, but it's still early, so we shall see.

Thanks again!


In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on. -R. Frost


Diane817
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Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 2/15/2007 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   

I agree with no alcohol with any meds. Seems doctors leave it up to the pharmacy to tell you the side effects anymore. I also tried topamax and had bad side effects. I got off of it after several months. I sure hope it works for you. I've heard it's helped many. I hope you are among them.

Take care. Diane


23yroldmigrainesufferer
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/15/2007 10:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hmmm..I've been on Topamax since December...100 mg's a day..haven't had a lot of side effects at all..and every couple weeks or so i'll have 2 drinks on the weekend.....(just like 2 girly drinks such as Strawberry Margaritas....or, 2 Mike's Hard Lemonade's....etc..)

So...I didn't know anything about this...I've drank alcohol..just in moderation...? I've been perfectly fine? No problems at all.

TexasJen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 649
   Posted 2/17/2007 9:05 PM (GMT -6)   
This Topamax posting caught my eye because I reacted so horribly to it. Cranky - I did the same thing as you, but couldn't even make it past 50 mg. My hands, feet, face and oddly enough, my tongue went completely numb, everything I ate or drank tasted like... well, arse, and like you, felt like I'd been lobotomized. I was trying it for a chronic pain condition other than migraines (that thankfully, I only suffered with for 3 years) and it did nothing for the pain. It took quite a few weeks to get back to normal after taking that horrible stuff for all of one month. Never again! As far as my migraines went, narcotics of any kind made them worse - go figure - but luckily the axert worked pretty well.

I have used www.rxlist.com for many years to look up info on any drug I am ever prescribed. It gives you as much or as little info as you want to dig for on your prescription meds. For example, you will find the chemical description, clinical pharmacology, study results, details on reported side effects reported, warnings, precautions, contraindications, overdosage info, or you can just use the one tab containing the same patient information that you would get from the pharmacy. Quite the handy little tool.
Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but living with my wonderful husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, and 2 gold fish. 


CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 2/19/2007 1:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey 23yroldmigrainesufferer,
 
First of all, welcome to our board.  You can find a wealth of information from other members, or just support when you're having a bad time.
 
Now, for the main topic.  At 23, you are still very young, you still have that feeling of being invincible.  Unfortunately, you're not.  When you get medication, you must follow the instructions to the letter.  You have no idea when or if you will get any of the side-effects.  These instructions are given to you as a warning, to keep you safe from some bad side-effect.  These are RULES, NOT SUGGESTIONS.   
 
You never know when you might have a negative reaction.  Just because it hasn't happened to you yet, doesn't mean that drinking alcohol in moderation is OK.  If it says not to consume alcohol, then don't do it.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  I hadn't had a drink in years.  But at a convention I attended, I drank too much before it caught up with me.  I fell over, cracked my head in the bar ledge, and gave myself a concussion.  I don't remember anything that happened for about the next half hour. 
 
I know I'm repeating stuff from my previous post, but apparently you think that the rules don't apply to you.  Grow up and be responsible for yourself.  You are taking an "anti-migraine" preventative, and alcohol is one of the fastest triggers to start a migraine.  You have to remember all the things that are listed as substances to avoid.  Just because nothing has happened so far,  you can't predict what happens in the future.
 
Be smart and ditch the alcohol.  Let us know how you are doing.  We'll be looking out for you.
 
Best Wishes,
Leigh Ann cool

"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


kman78
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 2/19/2007 3:17 AM (GMT -6)   
HI angel,
If you have been on the topamax for a little while and it doesn't make you drowsy, then it is likely ok to have one to two drinks occasionally. However, the first time you have a drink while on it I would be at home, and have someone present with you to be sure you don't become overly drowsy. However, I would not do any "bindge drinking"(more than 4 drinks a day).

With this said, I would make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist to be sure it is ok.

Hope this helps,
kurt

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 2/19/2007 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys,

I am on Topamax and there is a warning that comes with mine about alcohol, as the combination of Topamax and alcohol can make you sleepy!!!

So I take it from that warning that it is best avoided!

take care

Ann
Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum


angelsgirl321
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/19/2007 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone...
 
 Thanks for all the input! So far I have only had some mild side effects to the Topomax... just some tingling in my feet every once in awhile... but thats about it.
 
As far as the drinking is concerned... I had a beer the other night and it just didn't taste right to me. Then last night I had a drink and I didn't even finish it...It almost seems like the Topomax makes me not want to drink, I just don't feel like it! Which is nice for my husband and friends b/c I can be the DD... Lol.
 
I did talk to my doctor and she told me that it is alright to have a drink every now and then... but it's not alright to take Topomax if you drink 2 or more drinks a day.
 
Anyway, Thanks everyone!
 
Angelsgirl321
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on. -R. Frost


TexasJen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 649
   Posted 2/20/2007 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Angelsgirl - I really chuckled when you mentioned how badly the beer tasted. Many people report changes in taste while getting used to Topamax. For whatever reason, coffee and soft drinks tasted horrible to me while I was on that stuff. In your case, maybe that isn't such a bad side effect to experience? :-) I'll hope it doesn't affect anything else for you and that topamax will help you. Good luck!
Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but living with my wonderful husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, and 2 gold fish. 


dandelion76
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/24/2007 7:41 PM (GMT -6)   
smurf  I've been on Topamax for about a year, 175 mg/day for migraines.  I have definately noticed less of a desire for any alcohol since taking it.  I think some alchohol is probably fine, if you end up wanting it, which I usually doh't (most of it gives me headaches anways with the exception of vodka and beer).  But I should warn you, if you do binge drink with it (which I unfortunately did a few months ago) your tolerance may not be what it used to be.  I think that it messes with your mind in ways you might not want it to.  Beware. 

onlythesassiest
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/6/2013 9:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I am on a 100 mg dose of Topamax currently, and my older brother (who is a pharmaceutical major) told me that binge drinking while on the medication can lead to developing of epilepsy(which Topamax is also used to treat). He said Doctors just don't figure people will drink that much, if the label says not to drink.

Jjclarys
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/10/2013 3:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I have been on Topamax previously for a year. I came off it to have my third child. I was on a dose of 450 mg per day, and my side effects were varied. I lost about 10 lbs in weight (putting me close to being underweight), I had pins and needles in my hands, feet, face and most extremities (although this wore off after about three months), taste changes mainly with carbonated drinks which tasted like earwax (!), also, as the dose escalated my cognitive processes became slower and I struggled to find the words for things - I found that sometimes I was slurring my words as if drunk and just had a general feeling of being slower. Like a lot of you have said, drinking alcohol has always been a trigger for migraines for me, and so I have not really been a big drinker for many years. If I drink one glass of wine that will be it, and one or two glasses per week would be the most I would ever drink. I continue drinking like this whilst on Topamax, under the advice from my doctor, and it didn't seem to have any adverse affect on me. The advice from my doctor was not to binge drink, although as a migraine sufferer, I think this would be very unlikely to happen!
So now I have finished nursing my child, unfortunately my migraines have returned in severity, and I find myself on Topamax once more. I am currently working myself up to a 100 mg/day dose and am on 50 mg/day currently. Side effects so far are the taste changes and pins and needles, I have a little appetite loss, but no cognitive changes so far. I am being very cautious with alcohol, although I am not a big drinker anyway.
My advice would be, speak with your doctor, but if you fancy a drink take it very slowly drink at home and with somebody who understands what you are taking. We take these drugs chronically, and so I think denying alcohol completely is unrealistic but binge drinking is very bad for your health both on Topamax or off! I think as a migraine sufferer you will be an unlikely candidate for binge drinking anyway. Good luck on Topamax, I hope it works for you, it helps me last time, I went from suffering an attack every four days to approximately every three weeks, so it did help. All the best!
Claire x

Jjclarys
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/10/2013 3:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry, that should have been 150 per day! Not 450 per day- yikes!!!!!

Stressed momma
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/18/2013 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Am new to this board. Dr just prescribed topamax for headaches and confusion. I can't even drive anymore. All tests were good. Question is about drinking, I see a lot of responses about it not being good. I have been drinking heavily since March when when son was in an accident and suffered brain injuries. So is it not safe to drink at all or can I try a couple drinks to see how I react? Don't preach to me about drinking please, I am under a tremendous amount of stress and have some beer every night to try to relax

Ann27
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/2/2013 4:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stressed Mama,
First of all, hugs to you and your family.
No worries about judgement here. And wanted to share with you, that I too, bc of personal reasons have been drinking more wine than I shouldthis year. In my case, the topamax HELPED. Sure, now I will have a glass, maybe two , but it hits harder....and sometimes dont really want it anymore. Something about topamax effects the same gaba receptors that make us want to de stress with alcohol.
It has only been two weeks for me at 50 mg, I am wary of prescription drugs, but all I know is that I forgot how happy I could be not drowning in the wine. Alcohol helps you escape for a little, then you just feel worse. It is a chemical deprressant. I am grateful that an unexpected side effect of the topamax would be to limit my dependency. With that said, please know that I am a wine collector, part vineyard owner.... so it will always be a part of my life in moderation and appreciation. Now I sip my one ( max two) glasses slowly and find calm that way.

I really hope that your family is doing ok and that you can find your calm too. I am wishing you all the very best. Hang in there.

Post Edited (Ann27) : 10/2/2013 4:01:46 AM (GMT-6)


katyvee89
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/16/2013 3:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey angelsgirl, I just started Topamax and was wondering the same thing too so thank you for bringing up the subject! I think its important to watch what you drink when taking medications, but each person reacts differently to both medications and alcohol so I think the most important thing is for each of us to know how we as individuals react to these certain medications, alcohol, or a combination of both before we can know for sure what to be careful of exactly. For now though, just watch the amount you drink while you're taking the meds, if you feel like you are wanting to drink at all..

also, TexasJen I honestly believed that our diet pepsi was going bad because I thought it was flat when I tried one the other day..then I realized that it was probably the medication changing the way things tasted for me..oops!

whoa
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/28/2013 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Topramax and alcohol? Don't do it!!! Right after I started taking it and the dosage was increased I was out and having drinks. The whole story is to long to write about but the end result is, I called 911 because I thought someone had put something in my drink. The police and ambulance show up and decided that I was simply intoxicated even though I trying to tell them that I was not. I also need to mention that 20 minutes prior to my calling 911. I had been asked to leave two establishments for acting up. At the second establishment the police were called on me for being disruptive. The police gave me a roadside test and deemed me sober and allowed me to walk on. Anyway, I ended up being denied treatment and taken to a detox center. Once there I was given a breathalyzer and only blew .106 which for a drinker like me is nothing. Even the officer made a comment about how low it was. I again asked to go to the hospital since I proved that I was not intoxicated and again denied. After I was checked into the detox center I once again requested to be taken to the hospital and denied. I had no memory of the my being disruptive, nor the police giving me a sobriety test, as well many other events that took place in about an hours time. It's been a month since all this happen and I'm just now finding out what went on that night from the people who witnessed it. So no I do not recommend taking any medication with alcohol but especially do not mix Topramax and alcohol.
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