New to Topamax, switched from Nortriptyline - Alcohol? Side Effects? Thoughts?!

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/27/2016 11:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

First time posting on this forum. I had a concussion summer of 2014, have had headaches ever since basically. Went on nortriptyline in October 2014 and ended up at 50mg until recently. The nortriptyline certainly helped, but I wasn't headache free, doc called me in last week as he didn't want to refill the nortrip without seeing me again - next thing you know i've been prescribed topamax. While on the nortriptyline I drank heavily, a few times a week, approx. 10-15 drinks per night ( need for the anti-alcohol bloggers to rant here), with no weird side effects or health 'scares'. Two days ago I switched over to topamax, and there's a big debate around alcohol and topamax. I asked the pharmacist if I can drink heavily and the reply was, as long as I didn't take the pills that night and was careful, on the other hand my doctor said no more than two drinks in a serious tone. I'm a young guy, fresh out of university and working in business, and enjoy partying on my weekends off since I work long hours.

Dosage: 25mg for 7 days then ramping up to an eventual 100mg. Perhaps at lower dosage amounts of 50mg or less, alcohol isn't too bad?

So healingwell forum members on topamax, can anyone share your experiences? Also would love to hear more about side effects. Hair loss and the glaucoma have me extremely freaked out and wanting to get off this pill immediately for that reason. Online has only been horror stories, while I appreciate honest horror stories, I'd love to hear a positive thing or two.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7515
   Posted 1/31/2016 11:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I am on topamax, 100mg am 150 pm for chronic head pain.

Alcohol will cause black outs; decrease the effectiveness of the med; INCREASE the likeliness of KIDNEY STONES.

Alcohol itself is a DEPRESSANT so heavy drinking as basicly SABOTAGING what you and your doctor are trying to accomplish.

When on topamax Heavy drinking of WATER is require to ensure no KIDNEY stones.

Therapy may be a good a idea to find out why the need to drink so much is there, mine ended up being 15 years of child abuse.

Please for you own sake, at least read the following link, no one can make you change, you have to want it. I just want to extend a helping hand.

That is what we do here, listen, support and validate the best we can.

Peace and strength
Moderator - Depression
Be still and know there is Peace.

Kabir says: "Student tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath". from the poem Breath.
DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain;Hemicrania Continua; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/4/2016 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi jb123
How are you going with this? I've just started on topamax and am also wondering how things will go for me with alcohol. I drink regularly 3 - 6 drinks most evenings. I know all the reasons I shouldn't and I'm hoping the topamax will help with this. I've read that its used to treat alcoholism so with any luck I'll cut down as a consequence of being on the medication. What's your experience been so far?

Kris J
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/1/2017 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
hi there..
I was on Amitriptyline for 4 years for miraines and one weekend it decided to stop. we tried upping it and nothing. i'm a young mother of three so i don't do pain pills for the migraines (i cant function with my kiddos) so i prefer preventatives but i am also a whopping 120 lbs so my blood pressure runs low (i'm active) so there are quite a few of the preventatives i can't be on because they lower blood pressure. so my doctor just tried the topamax last week. i just added the morning dose and am at 25 in the am and 25 in the pm. i always drink a ton of water but also extra because kidney stones scare the hell out of me.
i was also wondering about the occasional glass of wine. i am not a drinker by any means and i can certaintly go without ever drinking again but on a date night or a girls night i wouldn't mind kicking back with one if i thought it wouldnt cause a heart attach or something crazy.
i have a follow up at the end of the month. i am going to request going to the full 100 mg (50 in the am and 50 at night because i get mild headaches but nothing compared to what i was getting) and i am going to ask about a small glass glass of wine at home and see how she feels about it. my assumption is she will suggest trying it at home, not alone, and seeing how i feel before attempting in a social setting. i have read a lot of reviews and dizziness seems to be a big concensus (spelling?) amongst people who drink on this medication - and who wants that when you're trying to relax??

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/1/2017 5:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm going to agree with everyone else. No drinking on topamax unfortunately. I'm sorry!

Edit: I've tried topamax but it didn't work for me. I had trouble with word finding and I worked in a healthcare environment.

Post Edited (missmigraine) : 4/1/2017 4:41:01 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/7/2017 8:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kris,

I am also new to this forum and not much into social media, however, I thought I needed to share with you. I have been on topamax for the past two to three years and I have to say it has cut down on the daily migraines and also the three day downs I have had in the past. I have had no problem having a glass or two of wine occasionally.

What I don't like are some of the side effects. For one, I feel sort of like a slug, it slows me down and I don't like the pace. I try to force myself to exercise but it is an effort. Also it has affected my vision. I am in the process of cutting back to 75 mg from 100 mg. Just going to see how it goes. I know what you are going through, having been a young mom myself. Hang in there.... There are some new breakthroughs on the horizon for migraine...! Check it out....CGRP.....with little or or no side effects, very is in phase three trials as of April 2017 and pray that it will be available and affordable for many of us migraine warriors. GOD BLESS

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 5/10/2017 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I've taken topamax for over 10 years, since I was 15-16. When I started drinking, I found I had a very low tolerance and would get super sleepy. It's improved now and I can usually have two drinks out with friends without wanting a nap but I'd definitely recommend trying a drink at home with supervision first to see how you react. Give it some time to build tolerance. I also get very flushed but that might be a genetic thing and not related to the Dopamax.

New Member

Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/12/2017 5:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I just started on Nortriptyline recently. I'm sure I was on it years ago, without success, but that's when my kids were young and I was working. Stress is a HUGE trigger for me, as is weather.

I tried Topamax about 10 years ago...let's just say my reaction to it was so severe, it's on my listed allergies, along with morphine. I just can't take it at all.

I don't drink alcohol, so can't answer that question: but I think Topamax either works really well for people, or really doesn't. smile
Chronic Migraines, Bipolar II, Severe Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Stage 3 Adrenal Insufficiency, Malabsorption, Hyperparathyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Spine Issues: bulging & herniated discs, disc degeneration, bone spurs, whiplash, scoliosis + severe facet arthropathy & osteoporosis in lumbar. Extreme quick wit & humor. ;)
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