Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To B, or not to B... that isn't really the question

In the several days since Will has gone back to school since his seizure scare last week, he's been getting terrible daily reports. His attitude is bad, he's screaming a lot, no appetite. There are no tears, just a general angry attitude. Will even bit his own hand the other day, which is something he has never done before.

When you have a child with a neurological disorder with a change in personality, and especially when you have one who cannot tell you what is wrong, your first fear is that their seizures are causing their brain further damage. I know that this probably isn't the first thing that doctors or blog readers think... but its hard sometimes not to let your mind go to the worst possible cause.

Around the same time that all of this was occurring, I got an email from Kelly. Her son Connor also has seizures and is on the anti-epileptic drug Keppra, just like Will. She said that her doctors told her that vitamin B6 could help with some of the potential negative attitude side effects of Keppra. Thank goodness she wrote.

I spoke with our neurologist right away. His first thought was not that Will had long term negative effects from the seizures. He thought it was probably a reaction to the Keppra dosage increase, which is the one drug change that they made after our hospitalization last week. He said that he agreed that there were some anecdotal findings that vitamin B6 could help with the negative side effects. Apparently in some people, Keppra can reduce their body's supply of vitamin B6. This vitamin has an effect on a person's anxiety, appetite, irritability... to be depleted of it means that these effects are more likely. I drove to the pharmacy almost immediately.

We've been giving Will B6 for 24 hours now. I am not sure how long it will take for Will to have some relief. I am not sure it will work. The neurologist told us that if the B6 supplement does not improve Will's mood in a "fair amount of time," then we will have to move on to another drug. Keppra is a very good anti-epileptic drug, so we'd hate to lose the protection that it gives to Will. But he is just not acting like himself. He's miserable. Its heartbreaking.

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