Nephrolithiasis and Nephrocalcinosis From Topiramate Therapy in Children With Epilepsy

Author Department

Pediatrics; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




Adults treated with topiramate may develop nephrolithiasis, but its frequency in children on topiramate is unknown. Topiramate inhibits renal carbonic anhydrase, which can lead to renal tubular acidosis and hypercalciuria. We studied 40 consecutive children who initiated topiramate therapy for seizures between January 1997 and February 2003, followed for a mean of 36 months.


Serum electrolytes, urinary calcium/creatinine ratios, and renal ultrasonography were performed before topiramate and every 6 months thereafter.


Four children developed nephrolithiasis and/or nephrocalcinosis, which resolved on discontinuation of topiramate. In 40 patients, the mean urinary calcium/creatinine ratio increased over time (P < 0.001). The mean serum bicarbonate in 40 patients decreased over time (P < 0.01). Twenty-three children had urinary calcium/creatinine ratios before topiramate. Nine children with baseline hypercalciuria (defined as urinary calcium/creatinine >0.21) were compared with the 14 children with baseline normal urinary calcium excretion. A greater increase in urinary calcium/creatinine ratios occurred in hypercalciuric children (P < 0.001) and a greater decrease in serum bicarbonate levels occurred in the hypercalciuric children (P < 0.05) compared with children with baseline normal calcium excretion. Greater urinary calcium excretion was associated with increasing doses of topiramate (P = 0.039).


Our study shows that long-term therapy with topiramate in children is associated with persistent hypercalciuria and metabolic acidosis, which can lead to nephrocalcinosis and/or nephrolithiasis. All children initiating topiramate therapy should have baseline and follow-up urinary calcium/creatinine studies, serum electrolytes, and periodic renal ultrasonography, if the urinary calcium/creatinine ratio increases to a level above normal for age.