Topamax aggression

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/11/2007 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I am at a bit of a loss and I hope that someone out there could have some advice, perhaps someone had a similar experience. My husband recently started topamax for his migraines. They were very bad and almost began to be constant.

It seems its working! I should be happy and I am happy for his relief.

This medication, however, has made him into a monster.

At first he acted extremely intoxicated. He couldn't drive and stumbled when he walked, he acted like a child often. I was very shocked and worried, but when addressing this issue he brushes me off.

After a week his "intoxication" seemed to go down some, but his childlike behavior has given way to aggressive temper tantrums. It is getting physical, but mostly its verbal. He screams and yells non stop and throws things. He acts like a child throwing an oscar worthy tantrum, except he's a grown adult, very capable of harm. The physical part is restraining me when i try to remove myself from the situation, thank goodness no hitting. But I fear that.

He has other symptoms like the tingling legs, confusion, and memory loss. These all seem to be subsiding but the aggression and child like behavior is not.

I want to stand by him, through sickness and health. He has always done that for me and I love him.

Do I have the right to talk to his Doctor to voice my concerns?

I have outright asked him to see his doctor about the side effects and have told him it is affecting our relationship. His response was to throw a temper tantrum.

This is a very scary thing, I hate to see him like this and I fear for not only my safety but others as he's always had to work to control his anger. On Topamax all lines are gone. I have not asked his coworkers how he's doing, which I could do unoffensively and perhaps should.

My main concern is where to go with this now. I don't know if I'm allowed to at least inform his doctor of this? Or will the doctor refuse to listen due to confidentiality. He refuses flat out to go back or stop taking the meds, he even upped the dose when it was time instead of seeking medical help about the side effects!

I apologize for the post, I know its kind of severe but the situation for me is severe and I don't know who to ask.

Thanks ahead of time for any help or thoughts on the matter, its all appreciated.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 189
   Posted 7/12/2007 8:12 AM (GMT -6)   
I have not been on Topomax (I wanted to try it but because of kidney stones the doctor wants to try it as a "last resort" med) but I do know that there have been many on here that have had a wide variety of symptoms.  I have read others post that have talked about Topomax ruining their lives.  Whether it is the Topomax or not, you have every right to discuss this with your husband's doctor.  Even though I am a nurse, (I take care of children so I always talk to parents) I am unsure of the laws regarding a doctor speaking with a spouse but the worse that can happen if you try to talk to the doctor is that he will say, because of HIPPA laws, he can't discuss it.  I have to believe that if there has been that big of a personality change, the doctor would want to know.  Remember, when a medication affects a person's personality, they usually don't have the wherewithal to realize it.  The doctor should definitely know how aggressive your husband has become - that could have very tragic consequences.  Not that you are anywhere close to this (and please don't think I am saying you are) but look at the story of Chris Benoit, the wrestler.  I live very close to where he lived so it has made a huge impact on my family (I used to see the man in the grocery store and my son would talk to him).  His story was very different (steroids) but my point is, any time there is a personality change once a med is started, the doctor needs to know - otherwise he can't evaluate and help.
Please speak with someone about this.  You are the person closest to this man and I believe that if he was his "normal" self, he would be appalled at how he is acting. 
I hope th at others can guide you more regarding Topomax.  Please let us know how you are doing.
DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/12/2007 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
baseballmomof3, thank you so much for your reply and help, it means a lot to me!

"when a medication affects a person's personality, they usually don't have the wherewithal to realize it."

Thank you so much for mentioning this too. I was wondering about this because I thought surely he wouldn't want to be acting this way.

I had a doctor visit today (with my doctor) and he also stressed that I make an effort to let his doctor know of the situation, to even put it in writing. He was also considerate enough to mention that I should be careful about my husband finding out I "told", as that is how he'd see it in this state of mind. And that I could even mention to his doctor that the severity of the situation is that I would be in fear if he were to know. (which is a huge fear of mine at this point)

I'm sure the doctor (who's seen him for over 30 years) would simply call for a checkup or suggest he come in for some tests (which I know he's due for) ... at least I hope that would happen.

Today I am feeling a little better, its difficult dealing with this rage constantly and the only way is to remove myself as much as I can.

I wonder if his other symptoms fading is a sign that the aggression might?

I am glad that you mention the Benoit case, although it is different, it still has enough similarities for me to hopefully learn from and avoid something bad. At this point I can see this spiraling out of control

Thank you again, I'm going to stop by his office and leave a note.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 7/13/2007 9:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Someoneswife,

Welcome to Healing Well. I am on Topamax and am on a comparatively low dose at 75mg but I can feel the side effects myself - maybe I am just sensitive.

The over-drugged sensations and extreme tiredness has faded along with some other symptoms but not gone altogether. I am quicker tempered - I hate that!!!! I also cry at the slightest thing - makes me feel stupid!!!! I am seeing my Headache Specialist on 1st August for a check-up and will be discussing these things with him!!!!

I have got to say that this is the first drug that has had such a positive effect on preventing the attacks - I am still getting some attacks though! This has all got to be weighed up against quality of life!!!!

I wish you all the best with this, please let us know how you get on.

take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 7/14/2007 10:26 PM (GMT -6)   
What a scary situation. I can completely understand how you must feel about this. You didn't mention how long your husband has been on Topamax for. When I first started on Topamax, I reacted very, very badly, but the medication was working so we decided to keep with it. I found that the worst weeks were the weeks where the split does that I was taking was uneven. My temper would rise very quickly and while I was able to control it around the people that I love, I would often have to remove myself from a room. I broke a couple of things as I threw them in pure fits of rage. I don't even know where the rage came from ... it isn't in my personality to get so angry, so it was very scary.

The thing with Topamax is that you have to be on the dose that works for you. If you are not on that particular dose, you will experience the side effects to the worst degree. This means that a lower dose may actually be worse for you than a higher dose. People often go off of this drug at 25mg not realizing that they may lose the side effects at a higher dose or if they just give it a shot. I gave it a shot, raised the dose and it worked. It is a highly individual drug, it's a serious drug, and in your case it must be taken seriously by all parties involved.

It took about a month for me to "calm down", but I've been back to myself ever more temper tantrums.

I agree with the others that you should tell your husband's doctor about this and your husband has got to know how you feel. My husband made it clear how he felt, but as he's the one who's bigger than me, it was not as scary a situation for him.

I really wish you all the best -


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2527
   Posted 7/15/2007 10:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I had to go off of topomax. My Dr was tapering me off of my elavil and placing me on topomax. I was having severe depression and also the topomax gave me suicidal thoughts. Since I was on this for just a short time I took myself off of it and went back up on the eleavil and when Monday came along I called my Dr and told him what I had done. This was a cpl years ago now and I will never touch that stuff again.
Dx with Crohn's 1987, symptoms as early as 1984.
Temp iliostomy February 2007, reversed June 2007, Ovarian cysts, migraines, allergies (incl food allergies) , oral allergy syndrome (diff than true food allergies), Asthma, Gall Bladder removed 1999, Inguenal hernia 1987

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 617
   Posted 7/17/2007 12:39 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Someoneswife,

Topamax can be a wonder drug for some people and absolute poison to others.  For me it was POISON.  I had horrible side effects, I became practically brain damaged.  I've been off the medication for over two years, and I still have not regained the mental abilities I had before taking the medication.  The side effects can very widely, and can depend on dosage and how fast dosage changes are made.  This medication needs to be very slowly "titrated" or changed up or down in dosage.  Changing too fast can make the side effects even worse.

Usually a patient's doctor's records contain an emergency contact, which allows the doctor to share medical information with this contact person.  I'm sure your husband must have you listed there.  This should allow you to talk with his doctor directly, and I would do some as soon as humanly possible.

When you talk with his doctor and inform him of your husband's behavior problems, it could be that his dosage is not correct.  If it is helping his migraines, perhaps he can add a medication to counteract his behavior problems.  I've never heard of agression being one of the side effects, but there are so many, anything is possiblen.

Please let us know how things go.

Leigh Ann cool

Basic info:
  • On Disablility for: Chronic Migraines, serious Back and Knee problems (will need surgery eventually), moderate Depression, Anxiety/Panic disorder, TMJ 
  • Divorced, 42, no children
  • Surgeries: Gastric Bypass, Gallbladder Removed (followed by a week in the hospital for a Blood Clot), Kidney Stone Removed, Broken Ankle, Major Dental work(four molars pulled, multiple cavities, root canals) 
  • Current Meds: Lexapro, Klonopin, Wellbutrin, Migranol, Trazadone, Buspar, Nexium, Skelaxin,  Phenergan, Chantix, Iron Pills, PROHIBITED FROM ALL NSAIDS
  • Current Problem: Internal Bleeding, possible ulcer in location of Gastric Bypass
"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 7/26/2007 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I was on topamax. It definitely changed my personality but made me very depressed. I would recommend getting him off the medication. There are other preventatives, like Beta Blockers that can really help and even other types of anti-seizure medications that he can use to prevent migraines. It's not worth it.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 134
   Posted 7/27/2007 5:57 PM (GMT -6)   

I just stopped taking Topamax yesterday and will never take it again.  It actually was giving me headaches, making me extremely dizzy, I felt unsteady on my feet.  Those symptoms just brought on panic attacks.  Dr originally prescribed 50 mg and after 1 day I thought I was having a seizure - he told me to take 1/2 (25mg) which I did for 2 weeks - I haven't felt that bad in a long time. Today I felt fine with no Topamax.

I have heard of people who do well on this and have no side effects, but anger & agression is one of the side effects that I read.  I would definitely have him talk to his Dr about this. 


New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/1/2007 2:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I was on Topamax for a few months, and I know my doc really did my dosage up slowly. he doubled it every 6-8 weeks starting with 25 mg.

I took it at night. Is he taking it at night?
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