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Psychiatrist.comThe Weekly Mind Reader: Topiramate’s Potential Role in PTSD Treatment

The anticonvulsant shows promise with significant reduction in PTSD symptoms observed in a recent study.

A recent study published in The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders has shed light on the potential use of the anticonvulsant medication, topiramate, in treating symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This off-label use of the drug, primarily prescribed for epilepsy and migraine prevention, has shown promising results in a 12-week study involving non-veteran subjects diagnosed with PTSD.

Key Points

  • Topiramate is an anticonvulsant medication that works by altering neurotransmitter activity to stabilize abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
  • The 12-week study involved 72 non-veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Half received topiramate, while the other half received a placebo.
  • The group taking topiramate showed a reduction of 39.5 percent in their total PTSD symptoms. Subjects given the placebo saw a 29.5 percent reduction in symptoms.
  • The topiramate group also showed some greater improvement in re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
  • Topiramate was generally well-tolerated with common side effects being tingling sensations, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.
  • Three times as many patients in the topiramate group saw their PTSD symptoms decrease below the clinical threshold compared to the placebo group.

According to the National Center for PTSD, about six percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

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