Depression Community
10.5k Members
Avatar universal

Hair loss and Topamax

I have been prescribed Wellbutrin for depression and Topamax as a mood stabilizer.  The combination worked very well for me and the bonus was that I lost weight.  However, I also lost hair.  I was wondering if anyone else experienced the same problem.
177 Responses
Avatar universal
I was taking Topamax for Bipolar disorder 50 mg a day for a couple months.  In general it just made me feel worse without any real benefit.  I kept taking it until my hair started falling out pretty bad.  I quit taking it and it's been about 2 months since.  My hair is falling out more today than it was while I was still taking the drug.  The hair on the top of my head is extremely thin and you can see scalp.  I've never had a problem with hair loss and had extremely healthy hair prior to this.   I am almost at the point where I want to shave my head.  I keep hoping that it will stop then it only gets worse.  This has easily been the worst drug i've taken and that says a lot because i'm on an excessive amount of antipsychotics.  I've always prided myself on my appearance and this is a pretty big blow to it.   I would have never taken the drug if I knew this side effect ahead of time.  
Avatar universal
I have been on Topamax for over 6 years for migraines.  100 mg twice a day.  I have just noticed the hair loss in front. I thought it might be the meds but come on, 6 years?  I have also lost a lot of weight and I didn't need to lose that much.  I barely eat.  I have a very strong feeling it's not eating right that is causing the hair loss, not the Topamax.
Avatar universal
I have been researching the damaging side effects of Topamax for over 6 years, as I indeed took the drug for almost 5 years and I invite you to do some exploring of your own. All of you.

Thousands of women all over the world have reported their terrible hair loss and extreme-unhealthy weight loss while being on Topomax.  That, added to crashing of the immune system, skin problems, memory loss (some permanent, like in my case), metabolism issues, even glaucoma (again, do the research) proves that it's not a coincidence that we all have suffered the same side effects.

I know most of you have not complained about the weight loss because, of course, us women are always trying to keep off the extra pounds, but Come On! This is extreme and no good can come from losing 30% of their body weight in just a few months.  I personally looked like an alien. I lost over 25 pounds and went down to 98 pounds and looked like an Alien! A malnurished Alien.

The appetite suppression is also a side effect of Topamax, as is the weight loss itself. And the hair loss is a combination of the crashing forced diet and the medication itself which suppresses the production of amino acids and the breaking down of nutrients and protein.
Please realize just how harmful this drug is. Read the testimonies of the suffering 20-something year olds with NO hair!
I myself suffered a great deal of hair loss and hair texture changes, added to the memory loss and immune system deficiency.  I went off it over a year and a half ago and I'm barely now starting to see the hair growing back and thank GOD, it is indeed regaining its original shine and silky texture. So THERE IS HOPE. But you won't get yourself back until you STOP taking it. Specially those who take it for migraines and depression. It is Not worth the changes in your body and your life.
I'd rather stuff my face with triptans and visit a magic healer every year but NO MORE poisoning my body with this drug, prescribed recklessly by neurologists and shrinks who never warned me of the permanent side effects that would eventually give me more migraines than before!

Oh, and keep in mind, you WILL gain all the weight back ten fold. I was always skinny before Topomax and now have gained back over 30 Lbs and have seen love handles for the first time!  Your metabolism goes insane!  I wish I would have never taken Topomax but all I can do now is take good care of myself and hope my body will eventually get back to where it was.
Good luck to you all.
Avatar universal
Topamax does have the side effects of losing weight. The hair loss could come from several things. Poor vitamin absorption is of the main things  you see when people start losing their hair,but remember shedding is a normal process we do year around. Another reason for hair loss is hormonal, and thyroid dysfunction. When losing weight the proper nurtrients are important. So check with your beautician or local health food store and find out what you are missing. Good luck.
Avatar universal
I really wanted to try Topamax for migraine and mood stababilzer as such bad side affects from other antidepressants, but am scared to death of the major hair loss now.
I have had bad weight gain from other medicines and the thought of a med that also helped some loss sounded so encouraging but am almost in tears reading of the hair loss which I had from other meds I think but finally is ok.
Does anyone know if everyone gets the hair loss? If not, I may try it but watch out for any hair loss and know its a side affect and go right off it.
Hope everyone on here finds something that works for them as know the pain of migraines and depression and how it kills your life. And my heart goes to all losing hair so much as a women it surely does not help any depression and neither does weight gain from other meds. I am eager to try a natural product I googled called GABA as says is so good for depression and if have to be on antidpressants is fine and compliments also, Its great as a HGH even and a sedative for depression but ok during day and helps sleep at night which many need through medicines or condition so it has much good reports I have ordered and eager to try.
Hope it can be an option for anyone else also to consider.
I am still in bad withdrawals at moment and need to find another medicine and how I found as it is supposed to help coming off meds also.
Take Care everyone and be aware as much as you can of what works and what doesnt xxx
Avatar universal
I started taking topamax 200mg for weight loss in 2009. I was 200lbs when I started taking topamax. I am now 217lbs. I have actually gained weight while taking topamax but that's because of my diet.My grandmother and I are noticing that my hair is shedding more than usual. I believe my hair is shedding because of topamax.
Avatar universal
I was on Topiramate (topamax) for 9 months (100mg) . 3 months ago I had to stop the medication (that helped so much with my migraines!!!) because of the hair loss.
I hate to say it but It's not getting ANY better! I Not only I lost about 1/2 of the volume of my hair but the structure of my hair changed completely. The blood work shows that everything is fine. I take supplements, I try all kind of treatments for my hair but it seems like it only make it worse.
I've seen a dermatologist but she said the same thing that my neurologist: "Yes, sometimes it happens, it might take a while, it's hard to find a reason, hair goes through cycles, blah-blah-blah...."
I'm  REALLY scared now.
Did anyone have more of dark circles under the eyes while taking topomax? I've never had them before and for past few months I look like a panda. And it's got  nothing to do with sleep, rest etc. They are just there!
Good luck everyone...
Avatar universal
Ive been on topamax since April 2010..ive had all the symptoms on here everyone has talked about..memory loss,confusion,tingling,etc,and my hair loss started a couple months ago but i didnt realize it was so bad until Feb. so i went to my doctor and he did blood work and he said it was my thyroid and it was a little low so he put me on medication for it but i told him i did research on topamax about hair loss and he said he never heard of any with this drug but with another one he has..i almost want to start up a class action lawsuit because their is nothing about hair loss as one of the side effects of this pill..i was put on this pill for migraines/cluster headaches because i get them everyday and i also have to take bc powder on top of that everyday.
Avatar universal
I was on Topomax last year, 200mg/day.  I lost 42lbs in 3 months.  I was loving it.  My headaches were gone & I felt good.   I was freaking out about my hair loss as well & both my neurologist & dermatologist said it was due to my drastic weight loss.  I quit taking the Topomax & was put on Amitryptiline (?) and I gained just about all the weight back & didn't like the way it made me feel.  My haid gradually stopped falling out.  It's been almost a year now and i'm back on Topomax.  From what i've been told, take supplements/vitamins & eat right.
Avatar universal
THANK GOODNESS I FOUND THIS!! I just started taking Topamax yesterday, because I occasionally get migraines, but honestly it's because I know about the weight loss. I had NO idea about the hair loss! I'm not taking it anymore; God gave me the most fabulous hair - I can't lose it just to lose a few pounds! Thanks for posting everyone!
1711740 tn?1308331447
Hello!  My name is Kimberly and I’m 48 years old.  I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (arthritis of the spinal cord) and have been on metotrexate for over ten years now.  That is a medication that is also used to treat cancer patients and works well on disease arthritis.  I have a lot of American Indian heritage and never suffered the ‘normal’ hair loss that most do while taking methotrexate, which is of course awesome.  

In 2007 I started fainting and developing severe (skullcap) headaches immediately after I recovered from fainting.  I even shattered my elbow in 2008 when I fainted on my tile foyer in the middle of the day for no known reason.  Like most of us I shrugged off my fainting spells for various reasons.  Then in 2008 I started losing my hair (eyelashes and eyebrows too).  At that time my hair was at my waist and so thick I could only wrap a ponytail holder around it once and that was hard.  I became so concerned and thought that I may have developed Lupus or something, so I collected the hair that I lost in a day in a sandwich bang and then the hair that I lost in a week in another bag.  I took my evidence (lol) to my rheumatologist and he said that he did not need me to show him because he could see it with his own eyes but he had no answer as to why.  

Part of my treatment for spinal arthritis is cervical/lumbar steroid epidurals.  However, in October of 2010 the anesthesiologist refused to put me under for the procedure because my blood pressure was crazy high-- That too was a new and troublesome symptom.  To receive the necessary treatment for my arthritis I had to be cleared by two different cardiologists and it took five months, I had a tilt test for “POTS Syndrome” I was tested for diabetes, etc.  Nothing seemed to explain my fainting or my extreme hair loss/weight loss.  My rheumatologist had/has me on the maximum amount of FOLIC ACID to offset the hair loss but it didn’t stopping the hair loss BUT CAUSES TONS OF NEW GROWTH.  I was finally approved for my steroid epidurals and had those procedures which help my mobility in my neck and my hips tremendously.  Because of the fainting I had not been driving but decided that since I had been cleared by two different cardiologists that surly I could take a short drive and have my hair colored and styled.  Bad idea… I took a short drive had my hair done, it took three hours.  By the end of the visit I started feeling very weird and knew that I needed to get home fast.  I should have never left the salon because I got about two miles away and started to faint.  I was able to get off the road and call my husband before I passed out.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  After that incident the doctors started taking my fainting issue very seriously and submitted my case to UT Southwestern/St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas, Tx.  After they reviewed my case they accepted me and I now have a team of brilliant doctors working on my case.  After a lot of neurological and endocrinology testing they have come up with the diagnosis of:
INTRACTABLE MIGRAINES WITH AN AURA OF FAINTING.  I had no idea and had attributed my severe headaches to my cervical arthritis.  Of course they immediate put me on Topamax and I’ve been taking 100 mg. since May 2011.  Because I’m already a thin person and never been over weight my neurologist warned me about the weight loss associated with this medication and said that if I lost more than five pounds I would not be able to continue with the medication.  I’m desperate to stop these migraines and get on with my life and will do whatever I can to treat this condition.  

This is going to sound crazy to all of you from what I have read… I’ve actually stopped losing my hair since I’ve been taking Topamax!  Go figure?!  Simply because I have forced myself to eat health (well-balanced) meals three times a day.  Whereas, before Topamax I ate almost nothing due to the pain I was suffering through so many migraines and severe arthritis pain I was basically unable to eat.  I would eat two bites or half of a Cliff bar for breakfast and the other half for dinner because of the vomiting from pain.  Therefore, I had lost about 40 plus pounds and was suffering severe leg cramping (charlie horses), weakness AND HAIR LOSS from being malnutrition.  However to look at me you would never have known that my body was not properly fed.  In fact people always tell me they don’t believe that I’m the age that I am.  Obviously, I have not been on Topamax long enough to know if the medication is going to work for me and the side effects are dreadful indeed.  But my brilliant neurologist has told me that those it works for say it’s a God send so I’m willing to see if I may be one of the blessed ones.

If you’re losing hair and have lost a lot of weight fast: Consider that that may be the cause of your hair loss.  Prescription folic acid is the best treatment to offset hair loss.  If you don’t have a doctor that will prescribe it you can buy it over the counter, just take more than suggested.  For those of you that may have taken it while you were pregnant remember how your hair and nails grew like crazy?  Yep, it works!  Remember that knowledge is power.  Good luck to all of you and I truly understand that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.  God bless.
Avatar universal
I started reading this thread because my doctor suggested I try Topamax for weight loss. So glad I did because I can't risk losing more hair (it is already very thin), so will not try the drug. Just wanted to pass on some info that might be helpful to the migraine sufferers here. I used to get migraines fairly frequently and a friend told me she had had success eradicating her migraines by using vitamin B complex. I started using a good quality Stress B Complex (as directed on the label) and it dramatically cut back on my migraines. I rarely get them anymore.
Avatar universal
I have read many of the above mentioned posts regarding hair loss and I wanted to share the little bit of info I have gained going thru rapid weight loss with my wife. She got with a weight loss system and lost 48 pounds in 14 weeks. Man she was looking good and feeling great. After about three months she started noticing that her hair was shedding at a rate much faster than normal. This continued on. She got to her goal weight over the next month and had lost 62 in just over 5 months. Hair loss has now become a major concern to her and therefore me. What we have found is the body needs a certain amount of calories just to maintain normal body functions. When the body is starved of the calories it needs it will not assign the available calories to hair growth. The problem with this is that the hair growth cycle takes about 3 months for the shedding to start being noticed, then another 3 months for the increased calorie intake to reset the hair growth. People are always shedding 10% of your hair. So for most people the hair growth will return but you need to make sure that you are taking in an healthy amount of calories. People think that the less you intake the better off you will be. You are actually starving your body and shocking you system. 1100 to 1200 will lose weight for you and your chances of side effects will be much less than consuming less than 800 calories a day. We wish we were informed about the side effects of the rapid weight loss and we would have chosen to go about the weight loss slower. The whole thing with the weight loss is that you have to change the way you think about food and make lifestyle changes, or it will come right back on. My wife is now coaching other people who need a system and guidelines to making a weight loss goal attainable. It has changed my wife's life and attitude. She went from a size 14 to a size 8. Went from a constant state of being mildly depressed to now being silly and carefree. I can say that she has been free from the bondage of weight for over the last 14 months. God bless. Weight loss is possible. ( she had tried most of the "name brand" diets only to lose some and gain it right back because they didnt really break the addictions to carbs and sugars and only left her feeling deprived ). I know for many here this post will be too late but hopefully you will understand what may be causing your hair loss. If you or anyone else needs some help with weight loss dont hesitate to email.
Avatar universal
I only take 75 mgs a day and my hair still is falling out like crazy.I think the best solution is to simply stop taking it and find another solution for my nerve pain.
Avatar universal
I too can see my scalp but thought I was just going to be another half bald old lady one day...didn't know why.  Now I do.  PLUS my doctor just increased my Topamax from 100mg twice daily to 200mg twice daily and this is for migraine prevention, and probably also depression related issued (?).  I am 5'9" and my weight initially fell to 108 but is now 133 thankfully, but I am afraid I'll battle the weight loss again.  Ensure helps!  I'm 63 & have taken it since having an episode of transient binocular blindness one morning--pretty scary!  Since stroke was ruled out, & I have migraines it had to have been that they said.  I hate this medicine, but I'd hate going blind driving 70 mph too, so what can you do?  I am puzzled why doc made such a huge increase in dosage, and also didn't titrate it...just doubled it-wham!  But we have to trust their knowlege, right?  (I'm researching it as best I can on my own-it's MY body afterall).  Good luck everyone!
Avatar universal
Are your still off Top? I like your post as I have been reading them ALL all morning and yours sounds closest to mine.  Although I never see any replys or answers to any of these questions.  So, I may not see this one:(  Just trying it out...thanks
Avatar universal
I have been reading this entire thread all morning!  Thanks you ALL so much!  I have been on Topamax for six YEARS and it stops today!  I have always had hair loss but it began to get much worse this past year.  Because I hadn't started or changed any meds I just couldnt put a finger on it.  My doctor suggested that it was the Top and I said but I have been on it for years.  He said that things change over the years (with me I suppose)  I am on it for "mood disorder".  I think that can be controlled with Wellbutrin and Buspar (if any of you haven't heard of that one you should REALLY look into it!)  So, thanks to all of you I am so looking forward to hoping my hair grows back and also that I can finish a sentence once in a while! lol I will check back in soon....
Avatar universal
i took topamaz about 3 years ago (for 6mths) and then stopped for a year. my migraines started coming back so i started taking it again. started out with just 25mg a day. it worked fine for a while then i had to up the dosage to 50mg a day. just recently i had to up my dosage to 75mg per day after being on it for a year and half straight. it wasn't until i got to 75mg per day that i noticed weight loss and it wasn't until after this weight loss (approx 15lbs) that i noticed my hair coming out like crazy. i tried going back to 50mg per day but my migraines are there. i gotta get off this stuff. it works for the migraines but nothing is worth losing my hair.
Avatar universal
I just started on 100 mg 2 months ago..I have lost 15 pounds but the hair loss is what is worrying me, does the hair come back once you discontinue the medication??? Please let me know ASAP...
Avatar universal
I was taking topamax as well for my migraines. I lost 32lbs! great! but my hair started falling out bad! so my doc Just switched my meds to Verapamil. I just did some research and it can cause hair loss as well!
Have an Answer?
Top Mood Disorders Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Discover the common symptoms of and treatment options for depression.
We've got five strategies to foster happiness in your everyday life.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.
How to lower your heart attack risk.