Which is a safer, lower side effect profile drug, topamax (topiramate) or oxcarbazapine (in general terms, obv individuals vary)?

Don't 2nd guess. Neither is w/o risk and they are Rx'd for different (w/ overlap) conditions. You need to work w/ your Dr on selecting the best for you - say clearly that safety is impt to you. Know what they expect it to for your condition. Side EFX are pretty similar for both - your other health issues might be the swing vote.