FDA Approves Topamax for Preventing Migraines
Study Shows Epilepsy Drug Cuts Migraine Occurrences in Half
Aug. 12, 2004 -- A drug commonly used to control epilepsy
seizures may also control migraine headaches. Today the FDA approved the drug
Topamax for preventing migraine headaches in adults.
Nearly 14 million Americans suffer frequent or severe
migraines, but only about one in 10 takes prevention medications, according to
the National Headache Foundation.
A study published earlier this year in TheJournal of
the American Medical Association, showed patients taking 100 milligrams or
200 milligrams of Topamax daily experienced roughly half as many migraine
headaches per month as patients taking a placebo.
The FDA approved Topamax(R) (topiramate) tablets and Topamax(R)
sprinkle capsules for the prophylaxis (prevention) of migraine headaches in
adults. The drug is not approved for the treatment of migraine headaches after
they occur; what's known as acute treatment.
Topamax Approved for Preventing Migraine
Migraine headaches are caused by overactive nerves in the brain
which release chemicals that cause pain and inflammation of blood vessels in
Most medications currently approved for migraine treatment are
designed to relieve symptoms after a migraine attack begins.
For people with frequent or severe migraines, using a
preventive medication may reduce the frequency of their attacks. Preventive
headache medications include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers,
antidepressants, and anticonvulsants, such as Topamax.
The most common side effect associated with Topamax use is
tingling in the extremities, such as arms and legs. Others may include
fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, taste alteration, diarrhea, weight loss, and
side effects on memory.
Topamax has been approved for prevention of migraines in 22
countries. The drug is marketed in the U.S. by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical,
Inc., which is a WebMD sponsor.