I was prescribed Topamax four months ago as a preventative for migraine and other headaches. The initial dosage was 25 mg and then it was stepped up to 50mg after six weeks.
After one month on the medication, I was given a complete blood test as part of a regular physical. My white blood counts came back at 3900. Three years prior (the last time I gave blood) my wbc was 9900. This was a huge drop. Normal ranges are 5000-10000.
The doctor told me to continue my medication and come back in a month for another blood sample. A month later my white blood count had dropped to 3000. I went into panic attack as white blood cells are very important to a healthy immune system and every website on the net will scare the hell out of you about what a low wbc might mean. I had self-diagnosed myself with HIV and was living in fear.
I researched Topamax's FDA label on the internet and saw where Topamax causes leukopenia (decreased wbc) in less than 2% of its patients. I asked my doctor (internal medicine) about this
and he had no knowledge of this side effect. He ordered me to give more blood in 2-4 weeks. I immediately stopped the medication. For the last fourweeks, I have been in severe panic mode and have had all kinds of anxiety.
I just good my last bloodwork back today and my wbc has returned to the 9000 level exactly four weeks after discontinuing Topamax. My doc gave me the all clear on my health and attributed the leukopenia to the Topamax. My doc talked to a hematologist who said that this side effect happens from time to time from Topamax and most people are never aware because they do not give bloodwork while they are on the medication.
The reason for my post is to alert people of this possible side effect so that you may be aware that this may occur and won't be freaked out when your white blood cells rapidly decline while on this medication.
On a positive note, the Topamax did relieve me of my headache problem. However, I am not sure if it was worth all of the anxiety of the potential problems associated with a low white blood count.