Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anticonvulsants & me

I've been on a shitton of antiepileptic drugs. People always ask me about them, their effects and side effects. So here we go, with the good, the bad, and the whatthefuck. These are in no particular order.

Tegretol: I really liked Tegretol. It was absolutely amazing for my seizures (both times I took it). Unfortunately, it ate my blood cells for breakfast (twice). Seizure free, alas, I felt like crap.

Trileptal: I did not so much like Trileptal either time I was on it. Both times I took it, I was extremely uncoordinated and my brain didn't work. It made me sleepy-for me, a plus-but it didn't actually work for the seizures. As in I started having frequent absences and had a few drop seizures. It kind of sucked.

Topamax: I took Topamax from 2003 until 2010. I really did well on it for the most part, though my effective dose went up and down depending on what else I was taking at the time. I did get a bit of cognitive dulling, but it wasn't bad and it did teach me left from right. I got kidney stones as well, and did have a few borderline tests of kidney function, which is why I stopped taking it.

Zonegran: I took this twice too. It worked, ish, and made me sleepy at first but that always wears off quickly. The first time I got a bit of a facial rash, but nothing severe, and the second time it seemed to aggravate my kidney stones. It made me slightly stupid but nothing I couldn't have lived with had it worked.

Lamictal: Yet another twice tried, twice failed. It worked more or less, and even eliminated an ongoing headache. I really wish that I could take Lamictal. Alas, I got the rash. Twice. The first time it was bazingly obvious; the second we thought it was recurrent sinus infections until I sneezed out my sinus lining. It was so cool. Disgusting, but amazing.

Keppra: I love Keppra. A lot. It more or less works for me. It makes me happier. It made me less dumb. I started taking it right after a significant car accident. Significant is a word which here means "I forgot how numbers work". Within 6 months my math and language skills were back.

Neurontin: I took Neurontin for a few years. When I first started it, I forgot how to get from point A to point B. After a few months I acclimated, which is why I was on it for years. It made me sleepy every time I changed my dose, which was a plus, but it stopped working for my seizures and I felt very overmedicated at the time.

Gabatril: This was a short lived experiment. In theory it would replace Neurontin, but it didn't. I felt extremely spaced out and wasn't particularly coordinated. Since it didn't seem to work, either, we stopped it at about 3 weeks.

Clonazepam: For a long time this was just an emergency medication. I had a phenomenal amount of emergencies, so we added it to my daily regimen for 6 months or so. Going off wasn't hard, and I did not feel as drugged as one would expect. If there were side effects, I did not notice them.

Lorazepam: This was my emergency medication while I was on clonazepam daily. It worked pretty quickly for me and was somewhat sedating. If there were side effects other than sleepiness, I am unaware.

Diazepam: I took this as an emergency medication at one point also. Since it has a long half life, it was ideal for use during hormone swings that bring on seizures. It's not particularly sedating for me.

Temazepam: Yet another rescue medication. My theory during the time I took it was that it knocked me out and gave me a hangover so that I didn't notice seizure activity. Nothing in my life has ever made me sleepier.

Vimpat: This is the most recent addition to the list. I switched to Vimpat from Topamax in mid-2010. I got some headaches and experienced both dizziness and vertigo, but so far it is absolutely worth it. I have had 2 six-week seizure free spells since the switch; that is a really big deal for me. I've had some anxiety that may or may not be related to the medication as well, but the trade off is something I am willing to live with.

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