A 16-week clinical trial of 59 people who have CDH from transformed migraine (not chronic tension-type headaches) found that about 29% experienced at least 50% headache relief while taking Topamax. On average, participants in this group had 3.5 fewer bad days a month. Those who received a placebo had a 0.2 day increase in headache days. The amount of headache relief was determined by headahce and quality of life questionnaires, including MIDAS and HIT.
It often takes three months for a patient to determined if a particular drug is an effective preventive for them. Because Topamax has to be started at a small dose and slowly increased to a higher dose, it takes about a month to reach the full dose. In this study, researchers only included the level of patient response in their last four weeks of treatment.
The side effect data gathered from the trial is initially shocking. Of those who took Topamax, 75% had side effects. But, 52% people on the placebo also had side effects. The researchers concluded that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the incidence of side effects.
Speaking of side effects, if you visit a headache forum, you’ll see a large number of posts on the evils of Topamax. Dubbed Dopamax by patients and medical practitioners alike, the mental fogginess, trouble concentration and a bad memory are the frequently side effects. Waiting out the initial three months of taking the drug leads to a decrease in the severity and/or amount of side effects.