Migraines vs Partials

Welcome to the Coping With Epilepsy Forums

Welcome to the Coping With Epilepsy forums - a peer support community for folks dealing (directly or indirectly) with seizure disorders. You can visit the forum page to see the list of forum nodes (categories/rooms) for topics.

Please have a look around and if you like what you see, please consider registering an account and joining the discussions. When you register an account and log in, you may enjoy additional benefits including no ads, access to members only (ie. private) forum nodes and more. Registering an account is free - you have nothing to lose!


Reaction score
Hello, I hope Bernard will allow me to post this new thread. I still don't have my email problem fixed with Comcast but I hope to get to that sometime this week.
As you may know, I've been asking for guidance here concerning my developmentally disabled adult son who suffered from 2 tonic clonics on March 10, 2014. I've kept a journal of his symptoms and episodes since then.
As far as I knew, he was having daily simple partials and so our local doc/neuro prescribed Keppra, in addition to increasing his dilantin, to control the partials.
UPDATE: Yesterday, we traveled to Chicago to see Dr. Michael Smith, an epileptologist who specializes in seizures in the developmentally delayed and who is the director of the Epilepsy Center at Rush University Medical Center.
We saw Dr. Smith once before two years ago when my son first suffered (two) tonic clonics.
Long story short: Dr. Smith said the partials don't look the same and that if they are seizures, they would look the same. He thinks my son is experiencing migraines, cluster migraines. My husband gets migraines and my daughter (who is a PhD Psychologist - talk about a contrast in kids) also had them when she was in high school. So, we are going to gradually diminish the Keppra my son is on until he's free of it and then if he has episodes, we will likely do a battery of tests and/or try Topamax in lieu of the Keppra. We will give him a coated baby aspirin a day and some magneseum oxide to try to ward off the migraines. My son had a great day in Chicago yesterday, it was so comforting. I pray this doctor is correct in his assessment.
I find it difficult to grasp that our local neuro prescribed Keppra without seeing my child and relying solely on my own observations - someone with no experience with Keppra or partials. Unbelievable.
On a sad note, we saw a patient yesterday, a down's syndrome patient, and he seemed only semi-conscious. From outward appearances, he seemed very drugged up. I felt so bad for him and his parents.
I want to thank the sweet people here who helped us these past few weeks, this forum is phenomenal. It was my only source of strength during a very difficult and scary time.
Thank you,
Last edited:
I am a similar situation. I went to the specialist. I was told they were migraines and not seizures. I am slowly going off my meds and will see what happens. Very frustrating.
I think they can be hard to tell apart sometimes. I have both. Some of the Experiences I thought were simple partial seizures I'm now wondering if they were migraine auras without headache.

Unless I lose consciousness like when I have a complex partial, I haven't had any tonic clonics since May 2007, I'm now thinking I can't really be sure either what I'm experiencing because my symptoms have evolved so much since they started.

Topamax has definitely cut down on the number of migraine headaches I've gotten, and I haven't lost consciousness since I started it except the time I accidentally missed a dose.

The side effects were unpleasant once I got up to 100mg and I was taking it twice a day. 25mg I didn't notice anything and at 50mg once a day at night I think I might have had some fatigue. Mostly fatigue, memory issues, and trouble with word retrieval. However, the longer I've been in the medication they have all gotten better. The fatigue and memory issues lasted about two weeks before they improved significantly. Word retrieval took longer but now I don't notice any problems with it.

Oh, this probably does count as a side effect. Topamax can change the way carbonated beverages taste. It makes them taste flat. That one doesn't go away, but I'm not much of a soda drinker so I tend to forget about it.

Topamax has definitely improved my quality of life by lessening the number of migraines I experience.
I stared out on Topamax. I had the giggles and word retrieval problems. The giggles don't work well when teaching US government to high school seniors. The flat soda is a side effect. I no longer drink soda because to it.

I either have migraine auras without headache or migraines with pain but no aura. My migraine auras are zigzag as well. The specialist told me that she thought that my hallucinations of fully formed people talking to me (couldn't understand them) might be migraines. I started seeing a clinical psychologist. When the psychologist and I discussed the results from the specialist, she looked at me funny. She said that I definitely did not have schizophrenia and does not know of many other reasons (besides that and seizures) for the hallucinations. She is requesting my regular neurologist's notes. It sounds like she is going to consult with him and my primary care doc. Yea!!! I am not going to be passed around! :bjump:

To anyone who might read this: if you can find a good clinical psychologist, I recommend going. It makes me feel better having someone to talk to about how awful it is to be on the merry go round of meds, opinions, and symptoms. Having cancer was easier than this! At least with cancer, I knew exactly what it was and how to fix It.
Top Bottom