Medicine Side Effects – Are You Informed?

side effect

I was prescribed Topamax early on in my treatment for bipolar disorder. It was probably within the first two to four years of my diagnosis. My psychiatrist at that time discussed with me the side effects like he did with every new psychotrophic drug I took. He explained that Topamax was often referred to as Dopamax because it affected the memory and it was said to “dumb” you down.

Uses for Tomapax

Topamax is officially used for seizures in adults as well as migraine headaches. Using Topamax as a medicine for bipolar to aid in mood stability was considered off-label. Although Topamax was not approved for use as a mood stabilizer by the Food and Drug Administration, it was still legal for psychiatrists to prescribe this drug as such.


Over the years taking Topamax, I noticed my memory getting worse. I could not remember tasks that I did the day before. Words would escape me in the middle of conversations. Also I would say other words in place of the word I meant to say. For instance, I might say “I’ll drive the clothes hanger” instead of “I’ll drive the truck”.  I thought this would not afect my life.  But it did.

Recently, I was put through a battery of tests to check if I am having seizures. The EEG showed an interesting phenomenon. My left frontal lobe showed slowing. My neurologist believed the Topamax was causing the slowing. My neurologist subsequently took me off the drug.  I soon discovered the frontal lobe controls memory, language,social behavior, problem solving and judgment. All of these areas I was experiencing deficiencies.

I have been off the Dopamax for over a month. In some areas I have noticed a small improvement while oher areas are still deficient. My doctor and I did not discuss if I will have gains in any of these areas.

The medicines bipolars take are potent and should be taken with caution and knowledge of the medicine. If I had known my left frontal lobe would slow down, I would not have taken it in the first place.

Be Knowledgeable of Side Effects

Know what you are taking and monitor yourself for side effects. Usually pharmacy staff staple a pamphlet to the bag carrying the medicine you just bought. Be sure to read and become informed about the side effects. This is true for all medicine. This does not only affect bipolars.  It affects heart patients, diabetics, cancer patients and pediatrics too as well as many others.

Email Me

If you have had any experience with Topamax or any other drug’s side effects, I would love to hear about it. Email me at

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