Scientists from Stanford/Packard Find new use for Topamax

It seems more people are destined to suffer Topamax side effects: Scientists have discovered a new use for Topamax (topiramate) after conducting a study that looked at teaming up different drugs. What they found was that Topamax, when combined with the ulcer medication cimetidine (Tagamet), may be able to help treat Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease).

The scientists, led by Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., conducted their research by using a sophisticated computer algorithm to sift through public databases. What they found were many drug and disease matches that showed the potential to work well together. The drug pairings were based on the directions that a disease and a drug can change various genes’ activity within the tissues. The scientists learned that they could prove that using approved drugs to treat other conditions that aren’t approved helped speed up progress in fighting difficult diseases (this is referred to as drug repositioning). Their findings were published online Aug. 17 in Science Translational Medicine.

When it comes to using epilepsy medication like Topamax to treat Crohn’s disease, the researchers seems just as surprised as anyone else might be.

“What may be most counterintuitive of all is the degree to which a drug that is effective in a disorder, for instance epilepsy, may prove effective in one disorder as seemingly different as, say, Crohn’s disease,” the researchers say. “Likewise, one wouldn’t ordinarily assume an ulcer drug might be useful in fighting lung cancer.”

The study shows that topiramate scored just as well as steroids did at treating Crohn’s disease. When testing this theory, the researchers used a rodent model of Crohn’s disease to see just how topiramate fared by looking at the healing effect through endoscopy or microscopy. That is how they learned that it worked. Even some of physical symptoms like diarrhea improved.

While Topamax may prove helpful at combating Crohn’s disease, the drug has also been linked to severe side effects. One of those side effects is cleft palate, which is a birth defect which causes the lips and palate to not fuse properly during fetal development. If you have taken Topamax and your child was born with birth defects like cleft palate, contact Greg Jones today for a free consultation.

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