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Migraines are more than just headaches, because they last up to 72 hours and are more severe. There are different symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea and extreme sensitivity to noise and light, but the main one is severe pain on one side of the head. The good news is that patients can take certain medications to prevent migraines, including Topamax. Migraine prevention drugs differ from meds that treat migraines that started, and they should be taken on a daily basis to decrease the number of attacks and make them less severe.

Basic Information about Topamax

What is Topamax all about? This medicine belongs to a group of meds called anticonvulsants. Although these drugs are taken by patients to treat epilepsy, many of them are effects for other health conditions, such as migraines.

How does Topamax work? The exact mechanism of action to prevent migraines is still unknown. There is an opinion that this medicine works by calming overactive nerve cells in the brain leading to migraines. It’s necessary to take it each day if you want to prevent migraine attacks, and it may take several months for Topamax to decrease their number.

What Patients Should Know about Migraines

Migraines are responsible for causing pulsing sensations and severe throbbing pain accompanied by other troubling symptoms. Migraines can cause severe and disabling pain for long hours and even days. Warning symptoms called aura may happen with or before headaches, including tingling, blind spots and light flashes. The good news is that Topamax can prevent migraines and make them less troubling.

Common Symptoms

There are 4 stages involved in the progress of migraines, including prodrome, aura, headaches and post-drome, and each one has specific symptoms.

A few days before migraines, you can notice specific changes that warn you of upcoming migraines, such as:

  • Mood changes and constipation;
  • Neck stiffness and food cravings;
  • Regular yawning and increased thirst.

Aura may happen during or before migraines, and it’s characterized by symptoms of the nervous system, including different visual disturbances. Sometimes, aura includes speech disturbances and touching sensations. Each case is different, and these symptoms may last for about 1 hour. Aura examples include:

  • Vision loss and visual phenomena;
  • Needles sensation and difficulty speaking;
  • Numbness and weakness in the face;
  • Hearing noises and uncontrollable jerking.

During migraine attacks, patients often experience:

  • Pulsing and throbbing pain;
  • Blurred vision and lightheadedness;
  • Pain on one side or both sides of the head;
  • Vomiting and nausea;
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds and light.

In the final phase, you may feel washed out and drained and experience the following symptoms for about one day:

  • Moodiness and confusion;
  • Weakness and dizziness;
  • Sensitivity to sounds and light.

When to Visit Your Doctor

Migraines often go untreated and undiagnosed. If you experience the symptoms of migraine attacks on a regular basis, keep their record and how you treat them. Make an appointment with doctors to discuss that. You need to visit your physician immediately once you experience the following symptoms that may indicate more serious health issues:

  • Severe and abrupt headaches, such as thunderclaps;
  • Headaches after any head injury, especially if they get worse;
  • Headaches with confusion, stiff neck, fever, double vision, seizures, numbness, weakness and difficulty speaking;
  • New headaches if you are over 50 years old;
  • Chronic headaches that get worse after exertion, coughing or sudden movements.

How to Diagnose Migraines

If you suspect that you have migraines, you should visit neurologists to diagnose this health problem. You need to undergo a detailed neurological and physical examination in addition to more tests to rule out all possible causes, especially if your condition is severe, complex or unusual. Diagnosis procedures include blood tests, MRI, CT scans, lumbar puncture and some others according to the directions given by doctors.

Effective Treatment

Specific migraine medications can help people prevent future attacks and stop symptoms. There are many drugs created to treat this condition, and some of them are also taken to treat other health issues. They all can be divided into two broad categories:

  • Pain relieving meds or abortive or acute treatment. They must be taken during migraine attacks to stop symptoms.
  • Preventive meds, including Topamax. They should be taken regularly to decrease the frequency and severity of migraines.

The right treatment is chosen based on the severity and frequency of migraines, other health conditions and degree of disability caused by headaches.