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Old 01-07-2018, 05:54 AM
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Epliepsy with diabetes

Hi - I am writing this regarding my brother. I am his carer and following a brain injury he was diagnosed with epilepsy a number of years ago. He was fortunate to never have a seizure, only "absences"and after being referred to the hospital and given medication those absences decreased to approx once per month for 20 seconds and he could talk to me. Then a few years ago his blood sugars started going up and a nurse at the surgery said to be careful as diabetes meds and epilepsy meds did not mix well. Two years ago the G.P. said his sugars were high and he was definitely diabetic and would require medication. I mentioned what the nurse had said and he shrugged and said "I don't think so"..
My brother was put on Metformin and was fine for 2 weeks. In the third week he had 6 absences in 5 days and on the Friday had a full blown seizure(his first EVER!!) I called an ambulance and they were really worried. We were in A&E for 3 hours as they were worried because his oxygen levels were so low. I immediately stopped the Metformin and went to see the G.P. who agreed to take him off them. He has had his sugars checked regularly and this last time in December the (new) G.P. said his sugars are so high he HAS to go on medication. I am terrified. Everyone I speak to (G.P/A& E/Diabetes nurse) say they have never heard of this. (The Nurse who mentioned it to me years ago had long since moved on) He is on Lamotrogine(lamictal) for his type of epilepsy and since I took him off the Metformin 2 years ago he is back to approx. 1 "absence" a month.HELP! Can anyone advise me as next week he has to be prescibed and I would welcome hearing if anyone has come across this. -Sorry about the long post
Kind regards
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:09 AM
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A brief comment about terminology, absence is a way to describe a seizure but it is in a few seizure names (pronounced differently). There are many kinds of seizures besides grand mals/tonic clonics. Absence can be how some seizures appear, still counts as a seizure. My daughter has seizures that look like an absence that are a kind of focal seizure and she has a type of named absence that are a generalized seizure for which she currently takes lamotrigine although has been on other meds.

If your brother is still having seizures (even ones you don’t call a seizure), his medication might just need to be adjusted to get full control.

What I do for any medication my child takes is to know the common side effects, check for concerning drug interactions (epilepsy meds can have many interaction issues), know the black box warnings and then just know something unusual and unlisted could still happen. Drug interactions can also occur with over the counter medication and foods (grapefruit is a food that is well known to mess with a number of drugs but there are others). Not all epilepsy meds have the same interactions. I would be most concerned if he was taking a drug that was in the same class as the problematic drug but you can look up lamotrigine issues in advance (it’s got different issues) and at an appt make sure to highlight there were problems before so ask how they check for interaction issues in advance to be aware of in advance. Then also have another conversation with the pharmacist as they are helpful resources for just this type of issue.

Medscape is one place I check interactions, e.g.

With lamotrigine (and many other epilepsy meds) one should not start or stop the drug abruptly unless there are life threatening issues and only do that while working closely with his doc.

Last edited by Hobbes; 01-07-2018 at 08:17 AM. Reason: cleaned up wording
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:18 AM
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Richacrd you might try pm-ing Cint: I believe she has both epilepsy and diabetes and will have some insight into medications.

You might also find this helpful:
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:28 AM
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Hi Richard,

Welcome to CWE! I'm sorry to hear that your brother has to deal with diabetes and seizures. One thing that triggers seizures for some people is using nutra sweet (aspartame) because it can cause more electrical activity in the brain.

I've had absence and complex partial seizures for 46 yrs. and I always found that my pharmacist knew more about the meds than my Drs. ever did, so you may want to speak to the pharmacist. Another thing your brother may want to consider is seeing an Epileptologist which is a Dr. that specializes in epilepsy and I know my Epileptologist has found the cause of my seizures and he also did a DNA test on me to see that I was drug resistant. A DNA test can also show what type of med would work the best for your brother with the least side effect. All they have to do is draw some blood and get some salvia from the mouth, that is sent to the lab where they can see the amount of enzymes in a person and also see their body chemistry and match that up to the best seizure med with the least side effect. I wish you and your brother only the best of luck and May God Bless the Both of You!

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