Help for Topamax side effects

I am on a relatively low dose of Topamax, 62.5, which I have been on since about November. The Topamax has been great for my dizziness and my visual stability, but I have recently had increasing problems with confusion and short term memory that may or may not be due to the Topamax. What is interesting is that while we are doing some testing to try to track down the cause of the confusion and memory issues, my neurologist mentioned that many people take baking soda to help with Topamax side effects. He suggested that I try 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 6 ounces of water for a couple of days to see if it helped. I tried it and I do seem to feel a little less foggy. So, I Googled Topamax and baking soda and there are lots of people out there taking baking soda with their Topamax to help with the side effects. I hadn’t seen anyone mention this before, so wanted to throw it out there.

hmm that is interesting I wonder how that works??? Try it for awhile and report back! how much relief are you getting from the topamax- like what % do you feel now? do u have any plans on increasing the dose or do u feel u are on enough now? does it help with balance/walking at all?

hope the baking soda helps- that is a tough side effect to deal with :frowning:

That’s cool. Topamax must increase your blood acidity levels, which perhaps is what causes some of the side effects. I hadn’t realized that. That would explain why baking soda (a base) would help though. People take the same solution of baking soda to alleviate pain from lactic acid build up after working out–same concept. I absolutely LOVE the science that pops up on this site!!! And the help too–I’ll have to try that myself.

Thanks for the tip!!!

mlnewman wow that is very interesting. I have been on 75mg of topamax and I hear you about the dopey side effects. I have become mentally slow and am always confused. My short term memory is extremely bad. I have started noting things down more instead of relying on my memory which used to be razor sharp. Having said thing, as much as I hate this dopeyness, I will take it any day over the dizziness I felt pre Topamax. Whilst my symptoms do exists and get worst if I am tired or do not get enough sleep, its at a stage where I can say hey, I can live with this if this is how its going to remain. Its a nuisance but very manageable.

Regarding the baking soda, could you tell me what exactly did your neuro tell you to do? Mix 1 tea spoon of baking soda to 6 ounces of water and drink it? How many times a day did he ask you to do this and for how long?

it is a crappy trade off but if i could walk with normal or almost normal balance again I would take it too. have any of u guys lost weight while on this? i would love to go on this and lose some of the weight i gained from nori, depakote, and now lyrica (25 lbs ugggh).


Based on this research report from NIH it looks like the acid-base issues with topamax are much more serious than just a little sodium bicarb could affect. And the side effects from large scale acidosis would be much worse than the nagging lost words or confusion we experience–I know I probably shouldn’t put this on here, because it will bring down the good feelings associated–but it is likely that the placebo effect is at play here. And, don’t underestimate the power of the placebo–it isn’t a minimal effect!!! There are people who have been cured of diseases using the placebo effect–mind over matter is a powerful drug.

The baking soda won’t hurt you–and it very well MAY BE HELPFUL–but it is probably a placebo at the low levels we take. Acidosis is usually reserved for those taking at least 400mg/day or more of topamax.
:frowning: sorry if my post is a downer…research based and all that.

Ha, the neurologist actually mentioned that the effect might be a placebo effect, but knew I’d take whatever effect I could get!

Nabeel, he didn’t actually say how often to take the baking soda. He just said some people take it when they notice they are confused.

As far as the benefits from the Topamax, they have been great. I would happily stay on the Topamax at this dose and live my life, but for the side effects (if they are from the Topamax). The neuro issues have impacted my ability to travel and work however. If it looks like the Topamax is the most likely cause, I’ll have to try another drug.

I have this problem as well with my short term memory. I recently returned to college after many long years and it is so difficult trying to memorize information for exams while on this drug. I still get a lot of visual vertigo mostly trigged by computers and florescent lighting. My doctor is trying me on some different medication to take in addition to the Topamax to try to knock it out. Nothing is working yet. Topamax has worked well for me except for the visual vertigo. He mentioned taking me off of it to help with memory but I am honestly afraid to go off and risk having all my old symptoms return. I would rather have memory problems than feel like that again.

What level of Topamax are you on? I’m hoping that by the time I’m on 100mg the visual vertigo will have improved a lot. Computers are still a big problem. What other meds has your doc suggested to add to the topa to help with this?
My balance has already shown improvement. Short term memory is also a problem but hoping this will resolve with time when my brain becomes adjusted. How long have you been taking the topa? If only there was a simple solution - like one pill fits all! In our dreams!!!


I’ve been at 100mg since Feb–and had been playing between 50 and 75 since a few months before that. I was very upset by the loss of words and concentration that topamax caused for me, especially at first, then someone on here told me that the effect seemed to wane over time. I can say that, for me, this has been the case–HOWEVER!!! When I am tired–like, by the end of the work week (Thursday and Friday) or if I’ve had a lot of after work activities (baseball and horseback riding activities with the kids) on top of the regular schedule I tend to get what I call the “stupids.” I absolutely REQUIRE 8-9 hours of sleep per night when I am on the Topamax–which meant getting to bed by 9 p.m. since I have to get up by 5:30 to feed the horses and get ready for work. If I don’t get that sleep I get the stupids earlier in the week and they are worse. Every once in a great while I have to take my lunch hour “off site” so I can drive to the park and take a short 20 minute midday nap in the car–and that usually fixes the problem for the afternoon. Sometimes I have to break the caffiene rule for an afternoon–but beware–the crash from that decision is worse than the solution–as when the caffiene wears off you wind up really tongue tied and stupid AND you may wind up with rebound headache or dizzyness (some days with big important meetings I’ve had to take the repercussions though).

If you’ve been increasing your activity level because you’ve been feeling better (because the topamax is working) it is likely causing you fatigue–which causes the stupids (at least for me). This can be offset with an extra hour of sleep OR you may want to cut back on your activity just a bit and take it a wee bit slower. We underestimate how much the topamax takes out of us in terms of fatigue–and it is the mental fatigue that causes the stupids in my case.

These are just MY observations and suggestions–everyone is different. Good luck all the way around!! Maybe a nap and some baking soda together will add the pep to your step!!! :wink:

there should be a section on here for support of those on topamax lol- its funny how it really does seem to work for people- but this side effect sucks. I know it is a different drug but when i tried gabapentin it definitely screwed up my memory- but that effect did actually go away surprisingly. I know at least with the fatigue part, once u get to a dose that makes you tired, stay there until the fatigue either goes away or it just doesnt. i wonder if the dopiness works the same way??? like if u just keep going up your body cant adjust to it???

Thanks dolfnlvr,

I definitely had been trying to carry my usual load, and I know that all of the doctors I’ve seen have been consistent on one point - get at least 8 - 10 hours of sleep!

Mary Lee

I was amazed to read a neuro suggesting baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) for memory issues with Topamax. It’s an age old remedy for indigestion/GI issues and takes me back to my father asking his mother to fetch out the Bicarb when I was a little girl. Long before the introduction of Gaviscon, Zantac and all the other things available today. Medicine really can’t be moving as quickly as we’d thought.