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Old 10-14-2007, 04:30 PM   #1
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Question questions about medication and memory loss

Hi guys. I apologize for this long post. I'm new here and just joined because my boyfriend suffered from his first seizures ever about a week and a half ago. He was in the hospital for a week while they ran tests, and though he did have a high fever, they couldn't figure out what caused the sudden seizures. He did suffer from a head injury two years ago after a bad fall, which left him blind in one eye, but he hasn't had any problems until now. This whole thing is really frustrating because we don't know if the seizures are a result of the head injury (sometimes it can take years for the epilepsy to show up) or just a result of some sort of bacterial infection that he had, since his body responded well to antobiotics while he was in the hospital.

Anyway, my main worry right now is his memory loss. He was put on Phenytoin and just got home from the hospital yesterday. We spoke on the phone (he lives in England) and it was scary how little he remembered about anything much, such as his favorite bands, when I last visited him, things people told him yesterday, movies he has seen many times, etc. He can recall some general things, but no details. I was just wondering if any of you have been on this drug and have experienced memory problems on it? Or could the memory problems be a result of the seizures that he had? Will the memories eventually come back? It's all pretty upsetting for me, which means that it's so much worse for him. If it is caused by the drug, what alternative drug would you recommend? Sorry about all of the questions, I'm just kind of freaking out. Thanks.

 
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:36 AM   #2
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleone7 View Post
I was just wondering if any of you have been on this drug and have experienced memory problems on it? Or could the memory problems be a result of the seizures that he had? Will the memories eventually come back? It's all pretty upsetting for me, which means that it's so much worse for him. If it is caused by the drug, what alternative drug would you recommend? Sorry about all of the questions, I'm just kind of freaking out. Thanks.
More than likely the head trauma COULD have played a part of the factor.

The Dilantin (Phenytoin) usually doesn't cause memory issues. I was on a dose of 350/day. Even when my levels were toxic (meaning very high) I did not have memory issues, only vision (blurry, double) and balance related issues caused by the medication.

Memory is a hard issue of the brain to deal with. Usually persons tend to have problems with short term (before the brain can place it in long term memory). Having problems recalling past seems to indicate neurological issues, or possible brain trauma. The brain has in the past been able to make new connections when past ones were damaged to say it in a very generic manner.

Best of luck,

Travis

 
Old 10-15-2007, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

Hi I can relate to ur boyfriend and Im sorry his has to go through this, I believe is also the head trauma that causes memory loss and not the meds. I had a head injury at the age of 6, at 12 began having seizures and today age 26 had to have my brain tissue removed because I had developed mesial sclerosis (dead tissue due to the injury), which would not allow me to memorize or remember names, faces or places; it also caused my seizures to increase. Medications were not helpful after ten years and memory loss was very frustrating. believe it or not, after having the surgery 6 months ago my old memories which i had forgotten returned and my memory has improved. I suggest ur boyfriend's neuro keeps a close look at his head injury and ask the neuro to performs all the necessary test on him and search for any scaring before they can develop. I wish u and him the best of luck but dont settle for one neuro's diagnosis if ur not happy, get a second. It took me 10 years 8 different AEMs and 7 neuros to finaly get the real diagnosis and a real prognosis.. we are here for u

 
Old 10-15-2007, 04:12 PM   #4
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

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Originally Posted by 030free View Post
Hi I can relate to ur boyfriend and Im sorry his has to go through this, I believe is also the head trauma that causes memory loss and not the meds. I had a head injury at the age of 6, at 12 began having seizures and today age 26 had to have my brain tissue removed because I had developed mesial sclerosis (dead tissue due to the injury), which would not allow me to memorize or remember names, faces or places; it also caused my seizures to increase. Medications were not helpful after ten years and memory loss was very frustrating. believe it or not, after having the surgery 6 months ago my old memories which i had forgotten returned and my memory has improved. I suggest ur boyfriend's neuro keeps a close look at his head injury and ask the neuro to performs all the necessary test on him and search for any scaring before they can develop. I wish u and him the best of luck but dont settle for one neuro's diagnosis if ur not happy, get a second. It took me 10 years 8 different AEMs and 7 neuros to finaly get the real diagnosis and a real prognosis.. we are here for u
Thanks so much for your reply. The thing is, his memory was just as good after his head injury as it was before. He was even tested on it and it was fine. It is just after these seizures that he is having problems and his memory is very selective. I'm not sure if he has memorization problems yet, as he hasn't really had anything that he has needed to memorize since he's been home from the hospital. His memory does seem to be improving every day, so maybe it is just something that will take time? I also know that he does have scar tissue on his brain, but that has been there since his injury and the doctors don't seem to think it's a problem.

I'm glad to hear that surgery worked for you and that your memories came back. I guess he might have to go that route someday. Take care.

 
Old 10-15-2007, 08:43 PM   #5
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

remember that every time one has a seizures brains cells are lost and depending on the amount of attacks and years the persons have suffered from them, these cells have been lost and the memory they had stored.

 
Old 10-16-2007, 01:00 AM   #6
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

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Originally Posted by 030free View Post
remember that every time one has a seizures brains cells are lost and depending on the amount of attacks and years the persons have suffered from them, these cells have been lost and the memory they had stored.
ok. that makes me sad.

 
Old 10-16-2007, 11:37 AM   #7
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

Even a concussion can cause some memory isssues......so-called "minor head injuries' are being studied more, and it's being noted that symptoms are more commone than previously thought.....if the head injury is stronger than a concussion (contusion, hematoma, etc), there's a greater risk for symptoms. Some are temporary, some improve with cognitive therapy, and some are permanent, but can be dealt with with cueing, memory cards, appointment books, etc....whatever works.

Some medications cause memory issues. I was on 700mg of phenytoin (more than the recommended max dose) for a couple of years) and didn't notice any memory issues from that. Other meds have been a problem.

How long has it been since the injury and a good re-examination with a neurologist? He might need another set of tests to compare to those after the injury.

 
Old 10-17-2007, 12:53 AM   #8
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

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How long has it been since the injury and a good re-examination with a neurologist? He might need another set of tests to compare to those after the injury.
It has been a little over two years since his injury and it was pretty serious, which is why it was so surprising that his memory was back to normal afterwards.

I have noticed his memory improving quite a bit over the last few days, so maybe the initial side effects are wearing off or maybe sleep and time have just helped on their own.

Is there any AED that you guys would recommend that he switch to if he can? His vision has been blurring, his headaches are bad and I am worried about the gum problems.

Thanks.

 
Old 10-19-2007, 08:06 AM   #9
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

Even though my first seizure was at 12 I actually wasn't on meds until late 20's once I had my 2nd one. I was on dilantin initially but had major issues with memory loss. I've moved on to keppra and lamictal and things are much better.

 
Old 10-19-2007, 09:02 AM   #10
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

The worst for me was Topamax. It made my memory useless. Friends would look at me like I was nuts (I"d ask them a question they had just answered). My doctor even put me on Exelon to counteract the cognitive/memory effects of the Topamax.

Fortunately, I'm away from that neuro, off the max and my memory has improved dramatically.

 
Old 01-03-2008, 07:23 PM   #11
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Re: questions about medication and memory loss

Ditto TypeR, keppra turned my memory around...I feel so alive after getting off of Dilantin...too bad I was on it for 40 years or so. I have other posts with side effects of dilantin...causes the same symptoms as MS and taking aspirin with it increases the levels. Mine have been as high as 45...let me tell you, you do not want to be there...essentially your mucsles and mind are useless. IN any event, I am on keppra now and all seems much better!

 
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