Headache Home > Topiramate

Topiramate is a prescription medication that is licensed to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches. By slowing electrical signals in the brain and calming overly excited nerve cells, the medicine can help prevent seizures and migraines. Topiramate, which is available in the form of tablets or "sprinkle" capsules, is usually taken twice a day. Potential side effects of this drug may include dizziness, burning or tingling sensations, and fatigue.

What Is Topiramate?

Topiramate (Topamax®) is a prescription medication used to treat various conditions related to the nervous system. Specific topiramate uses include:
(Click What Is Topiramate Used For? for more information on specific topiramate uses, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Topiramate?

It is made by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics.

How Does It Work?

It is not entirely clear how topiramate works for epilepsy or migraines. An epileptic seizure occurs as the result of abnormal electrical signals in the brain. Topiramate slows those signals, helping to prevent seizures. The medication also works similarly for migraine headaches. It is thought that migraines may be triggered by nerve cells in the brain that are too easily excited. Topiramate helps calm the nerve cells, working to prevent a migraine from ever starting.


In studies, topiramate increased the time until the next seizure and decreased the number of seizures. In one study of adults with epilepsy, approximately 75 percent of people taking topiramate 400 mg per day were seizure-free for at least one year.
In one study of topiramate for preventing migraines, topiramate 200 mg per day reduced the average number of migraines from 5.5 per month to 3.1 per month.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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