Trying Lamictal after bad experience with Topamax?


I’m new here. I was diagnosed with MAV in September, and in all my many Google searches for info, kept finding that most of the helpful information was in these forums. As incredibly frustrating as this condition is, this site and the stories and info contained in it have been very comforting to me. So, after weeks of lurking, I am posting in the hopes that someone can offer some advice on my latest dilemma.

So far, I have had a handful of acute episodes, where I become disoriented (spatially - not like I don’t know where I am), letters jump off of pages and float in my vision, I feel a rush of blood to the head, and I tend to panic (especially the first time this happened). Valium helps quite a bit, but the episode leaves me very drained, and some lingering effects remain - chills, extreme sensitivity to light and sound (like I can feel the sounds as electrical sparks up my spine), etc. In addition to these episodes, I spend most days feeling “iffy.” Occasional (sometimes frequent) feeling of rocking, and visual disturbances like a DVD skipping. Constant brain fog, difficulty focusing, disequilibrium, and a feeling of being removed from reality. I am much, much more anxious than usual and seem to always be on the verge of a panic attack. Visual triggers (light coming in through horizontal blinds, fluorescent lights, etc.) are very problematic. The more I have found out about migraine, it seems I’ve had other migraine issues since at least high school (I’m 28 now), and in hindsight I have had a few previous isolated vertigo events, but nothing like what I’m currently experiencing.

I was put on Topamax (25mg initially), but after just a few days I developed side effects - wild mood swings, suicidal thoughts, etc. (in addition to the standard word loss, food tasting funny, etc.) and was weaned off; all told I was on it for about 2.5 weeks. I also noticed that I felt almost electrified, like my whole brain/spine/nervous system was charged somehow. This brings me to my question: I have been prescribed Lamictal; given my reaction to Topamax, does anyone have any experience/insight on whether I will likely respond to Lamictal in a similar manner? My neurologist (who wasn’t terribly knowledgeable on MAV - I am scheduled to see someone with more experience with this in April) swears Lamictal is gentler, but I’m pretty leery of anti-convulsants right now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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