Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

Another question on the topiramate/topimax side-effects.  I've been on 25mg Topiramate at night now for about 6 days now; eventually working up to 200mg/day. I'm in the software field so have to think analytically most of the time, and right now I'm so doped up I'm having a hard time differentiating between what people are saying and the venting system! At first I thought they were talking too quietly, but no one else seemed to be having any difficulties. I'm very groggy, unless I start talking then I'm a bit too animated. I'm also not sure if I'm making sense and people seem to be looking at me funny like my social skills/delivery are a bit off or something. To make the problem worse, I've had some anxiety in the past which has for the most part been under control, but now seems to be making a come back by the stress of trying to "act normal" and understand what's going on at work. I think the anxiety was causing seizure activity too (muscle jerking, altered perceptions, vibrating internally), OR, the Tompiramate is. I'm on such a low dose, that I'd think the cause was the former - anxiety. Beside the point actually.

Anyway.... if the dopiness/cognitive stuff doesn't fade, then this drug is TOTALLY counter-productive to why I went on it in the first place. I wasn't having noticable seizures, just A.D.D. that affected my work indirectly and causes co-workers to think I wasn't listening to them, etc. The doc thinks the A.D.D. is probably caused by frontal lobe seizure activity he saw. I've been having a downhill slide at work for the past few years with focus. Very frustrating and has caused me a lot of worry about continuing to support myself without switching to a less analytical job, which means selling my home I remodeled and the garden I love puttering around in.  OK, major future tripping here that's not productive - sorry.

Has anyone have these cognitive issues with the drug when they were ramping up and had it go away? I want to give the drug a good try if so, but if not, then it's time to try another drug or an alternative medicine like acupunture.


Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

Oh boy, you need to go back to your doctor - or a different doctor?

My neurologist called this drug 'Dopamax' because she said it had exactly the effects you talk about of 'dumbing people down' (her words!). I took it for about a week and had to stop because it was really messing up my mind.

You need to get an EEG. Don't accept a doctors diagnosis of seizure activity until it has been proven. These drugs are much too powerful (and even I might say dangerous) to use on the whim of a diagnosis without an EEG to substantiate the suspected cause.

If you think I'm exaggerating, read my experience here of what can happen when you're misdiagnosed...



Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

OK, first off - Wow! nice vid/song. Lot of feeling in it too.

Sorry for any confusion my previous message may have caused. I know I have epilepsy. I was diagnosed when I was 16 (I'm 44 now) by EEG and I subsequently blacked-out extremely briefly a few times when I was in my early twenties but a higher dose and switching to Carbatrol from Tegretol stopped that. The doc I have now is somewhat new for me, as I was having my PCP simply prescribe the Carbatrol for the past 15 years as the previous nueruologist I saw had prescribed (he wasn't seeing patients any longer.)  Last week he did 4 days of video EEG monitoring where I was off my meds. I had a lot of auras and dizziness, but when I felt things the EEG generally didn't necessarily show seizure activity vice-versa. Hard to say though, since I really couldn't differentiate between the general shakiness going on most of the time and when I supposedly was having a seizure. He couldn't even really classify my seizure type other than it had characteristics of generalized (but not exactly.) Maybe I just didn't understand that well what he was saying. It was also in my frontal lobe area (the focus area.) On Wed I was telling him I didn't really want to take ANY seizure medicine if he couldn't find much going on (like your history sort-of), but then that night I nearly blacked out (and once again, nothing showed on the EEG at that point.) I do know that for the past 15 years on Carbatrol 800 mg I've not blacked out, so I know that was helping. While I was in there getting the monitoring, a neuro-psychiatrist that's also part of the epilepsy center ran a battery of tests on my memory, attention, IQ, verbal skills, etc, etc. The only thing that reallly showed deficits, and it was fairly significant, was attention. So, the doc said that fit with the seizure activity they were seeing in the front of the brain and he thought Tompiramal was something to try for the ADD. I appreciate your concern over misdiagnosis for sure, as I'm not too enthused with the hazy diagnosis I have received to date. The doc is still reviewing all the results I think with his peers and I am scheduled for an MRI just to rule out the remote possibility of lesions, etc. This can be a complicated issue I'm finding out. I'm also now aware (as you found out) that just because I haven't had a really big seizure before, doesn't preclude me. I was pretty worried in the meeting today when I started shaking and it was increasing. I excused myself and found a room to lay down until I got calm.

I found someting just a bit earlier tonight on the web that said much of the cognitive and other side-effects may fade after a few days at each dose increase. Tomorrow will be a full week on 25mg so I'm guessing this probably isn't a good drug for me... If tomorrow isn't a lot better, I'm going to give accupuncture a go for the ADD. Way less side-effects there if it works for the issue. :-)


Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile

I'd have to agree with calling it Dopamax I've takenTopamax for several years now and am now up to 400mg a day along with taking Keppra and Lamictal but I noticed as they increased the Topamax and before they added the other drugs the memory problems and confussion have grown worse and worse the only positive to this is that it makes buying dvd's a worthwhile venture because after a while you can pop them in to watch them and it's almost like a new movie you're pretty sure you've seen it but you can't quite remeber how it ends.

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile

Hee hee!  I think humor is going to come in handy in the upcoming time. :-)

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile

as far as the weight loss goes it's been good and bad I've lost about 80 pounds I'm down to 165 and I'm 6 foot 2 that's kinda skinny my wife calls Topamax Noasetol because now I have no ass at all I wear my pants up around my belly like an old man humor helps at least we are walking around to see another day

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile

How long have you been on the Topamax?

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile

It's true. All you can really do is laugh at yourself and decide if you can cope with it or not. It does get worse over time but you do start to handle it better. I start to catch myself now not listening to people when they are talking straight to me or when my ear is right to the phone.  I'm pretty sure my 70 year old grandmother has a better memory than me and my 6 year old a better attention span. I've been on Topamax for almost 10 years now and have  had epilepsy since I was 7. I'm 29 now and don't really know or remember life an different than being doped up. I just pray everday I haven't passed it down to my daughter.

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

It has the nick about it here.

 No, you will feel dumber and dumber over time. My gf has a learning disability, and screamed with laughter-I could almost FEEL the thoughts slowly going thru my head. My IQ is 148. She said "now you know how the rest of us feel", lol!

 under topamax...

"Topamax's pros and cons:

Pros: You're more likely to lose weight than gain weight (although this is a bug,
not a feature, for me and a few other people). The best med on the market for temporal
lobe dysfunctions.  It really helps with the sensory integration problems
in autism.


Cons: If you don't have a temporal lobe dysfunction or problems with
other parts of your brain that Topamax hits, or you're at the wrong dosage,
it will make you dumber than a box of rocks. The kidney stones aren't much fun."

 Topamax's Not So Common Side Effects: Dry and/or itchy eyes along with assorted vision
problems. Topamax also has a warning for rare forms of myopia and glaucoma, so if you get
any sort of visual weirdness, have your eyes checked immediately! Fortunately
discontinuing Topamax usually takes care of these issues, but you can't let your doctor
just blow it off as an eye thing. You may find yourself not able to drink coffee any more,
so be prepared to quit the bean. Because it does hit the temporal lobes so hard you can
get a zombification effect that is typically experienced only with antipsychotics. Unlike the antipsychotics it's not such a
sure thing it will go away in a matter of a couple of weeks. And since the olfactory bulb
is wedged in that neighborhood, food in general, and not just carbonated beverages, may
not taste quite the same.  "


Tastes like pasty metal, iirc! 


Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

Great links, thank you very much. Just spent many hours on the site. Especially liked his humor and rant on not being a baby about they symptoms; that said, I have 2 of the symptoms that were call doc/stop drug ones, yet I still tried to talk myself around them to make sure they weren't caused by other factors; this was made difficult (actually the whole week had been trying to sort things out) due to the fogginess. Anyway read on...

Well, last night I went home gardened, picked up around the house, and then watched DVDs until 2AM and still wasn't tired! This was a change from the heavy dopey feeling I'd been having. Today I got up at 6 and felt "up", no "down" anxiety feelings, and able to understand people again. Actually feeling "quite good" like a bit high. Yeah! However, as the day wore on I got more speeded up yet got nothing done at work that didn't involve just talking. OK, thinking I may need to get to the "right dose" as I've read until things really smooth out. Willing to ride out the manic-ness at this stage with the hope it goes away.

Tonight - Like day 3 - now on day 7 - my heart started beating fast and skipping beats again. My blood pressure was up 16 on the systolic when I checked it. Maybe as mentioned I'm someone who'll be caffeine intolerant with the drug. I vascilate as of a couple of hours ago on whether to take tonight's dose or call it quits, after all, I can try without the caffeine tomorrow and see if it makes any difference.

Then I started thinking that even if the seizing yesterday at work was instigated by anxiety, I've had plenty of anxiety in the past and to my knowledge it hasn't caused seizures in me! So, unless seizing as your coming up is normal on this drug, I'm thinking NOT good.  So, coupled with that and the heart acting funny, I'm calling it quits with the Topi. Not worth is for someone who's seizures were mostly controlled (really late nights I get them), unless you count the theory that my ADD is caused by small seizures I'm not really noticing. Right now, even with my job on the line, all the health risks don't sound like a worthy trade-off. Think I'll try the accupuncture and let you know how that turns out :-)

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

Well, I'm glad I was able to point you in the right direction. Yeah ,the site's humor really helped me, too! Nice to see informal comments rather than drug company comments, not to mention rumors of what can happen, since I lived them out several times and the official line I got was that they didn't exist.

 My gf's youngest has adhd. I knew from experience some things to help, perhaps they will work for you. He's naturally slim, so I made sure  he ate a lot of heavily fatted meat, vegetables, and exercised. It was a major fight, but he has never had to take medication due to that diet and lifestyle regimen. We have had to make him stay in the corner for an hour before he'll eat carrots tho, but he did it!  I got the high fat idea fro ma tv news program which chowed some epileptsy patients did not have high enough body fat, so the lack of it around their brain caused them to seize-when increased, it stopped.

My brain ,as a kid, and the youngest's, speeds up to the point it will cause stuttering and "skipping". I was able to stop it with meds (ativan), exericse, and b complex, though I occasionally have problems. Sleep helps. Perhaps your brain processes  things to ofast, which is why you are having problems?

My bp went to 178 one day, and everything I tried did not  work until an ativan/benzo. I do not even have a normal cholesterol, it is so low, but it scared me about palpitations (I had them). I wouldn't totally abandon meds with epilepsy, either, and woudl call your Dr. There are number of drugs you can keep trying-and despite the promise of new age alternative therapies, I've only seen them work as an adjunct, not as a monotherapy.


Good luck though! 

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

I just started on Topamax and I love it.  I do notice the mental confusion.  I can relate to you.  I have a high IQ and some days feel low on the spetrum do to the Topamax but everyone at work know that I am on and has a good laugh with me.  I am not epileptic but I do have severe anxiety, ADHD, migranes and sensory integration disorder and my psychiatrist wanted to try the Topamax.   My psychiatrist is not so sure that I have true ADHD.  He thinks it may be caused by something else.  He isn't telling me what that something else is.  I am not sure that i want to know.  All I know is that I love the Topamax and it helps with my appetite that the anxiety certainly did not help with.  The migranes and sensory issues are going away as well.  Many members of my immediate family had epilepsy and passed away due to grand mal seizures.  I wish they had the opportunity to try Topamax. 

Re: Does the mental confusion with Topiramate fade after awhile?

I'm glad it's working for you and I hope the dopiness does fade after awhile for you.