Vimpat for seizures

Is anyone taking Vimpat for seizures? What are your experiences with it? My husband started it this summer and he has not done well with it at all. His doctor has changed the strength of it up and down since then. He also takes Keppra. He says he feels awful and is becoming pretty depressed. Any advice??

Kristen,
My husband is now on his fifth seizure med since 9/30/08, we keep hoping and praying this is the one. He has been on Dilantin, Tegratol XR, Deparkot XR, they all made him into a zombie. He started on Keppra mid June, we really thought that was the one, he had no side effects after getting used to it for about 2 months, the only side effect he had was tiredness but that went away so… but then he had another GM seizure 9/27/09 so… his doc has added Lamital (generic) so… going up on that slowly, hopefully will wean the Keppra in mid Feb 2010 since his epileptologist prefers him to be on one med if possible. Do you see an epileptologist rather than just a neuro doc? They specialize in seizures so that may be a better option for him/you.
Also has anyone had any testing about a possible surgery for seizures? My husband’s AVM was also in his left temporal lobe, and from what we have been reading that area is the hardest to control seizures in but perhaps one of the easiest to fix with a temporal lobectomy. Our epi doc has mentioned that but we have not done the testing that that would entail. For that to happen the seizures need to start in the same spot all the time, which seems to be that way with Steve’s, he had an EEG a few weeks ago and the seizure activity is in the area the AVM/bleed was. I would love to hear from anyone that may have had this seizure corrective surgery or could be considering it.
Have a blessed day to you all!
Marie

Hi,

I’m also curious to hear from anyone who has experience with Vimpat. My husband just started taking it yesterday. He’s adding it to his Keppra while he undergoes a round-the-clock video EEG, and if it works, he’ll taper the Keppra off. The Keppra seems to have allowed seizure activity to continue in his frontal lobe, even though we weren’t seeing seizures. The doctor told us that Vimpat will quiet down both the frontal and temporal lobes, which is where his AVM and surgical damage is. It seems safer than Keppra, based on the drug info, but I know everyone’s experience is different.

Thanks for anything you can tell us!
Jorie

Kristin - I only have experience with Keppra, Keppra XR, Lamictal XR and Dilantin. Any version or dosage variation of Keppra have made me HUGELY depressed, uncontrollably angry/mean and anxious. Didn’t experience many side effects with Dilantin but only took a low dosage of it for a few months (100 mg twice a day). Lamictal accentuated my anxiety, made my heart ‘race’ and gave me severe, long-lasting insomnia. My newest epilepsy neuro, whose opinion I trust and value, did want me to potentially start Vimpat, but from what I have read that is in a similar category to Keppra and might, too, induce depression. My advice … try to stick to one single medication that best controls the seizures. If Keppra or Vimpat is it, then DO consider seeing a neuro psychiatrist for a depression/anxiety-fighting plan … what seems to work for me the best is a combination of weekly classic psychotherapy sessions and the anti-depressant Pristiq (I take 50 mg once a day). By managing the depression and related symptoms (anxiety, anger, etc etc) you will invariably also help keep the seizures in better shape/control. Hope this helps some. Stay well, and Bless you for sticking by your husband’s side through this difficult time. I sure know what that is like. Best, Ruth

Hi Jorie. My daughter had a AVM bleed in October 2012, craniotomy in Feb 2013. She is now on Keppra 2000mg twice a day. She had been seizure free for 9 months, but had another one (general, but not GM). The neurologist is thinking of adding Vimpat to the Keppra. I was wondering if you have any additional information since this post was written.

My daughter was 18 when she had the bleed; she will be 20 in April, just so you know. She never had seizures until the surgery, and wants very much to be off meds altogether.

Thanks in advance.

---Lew

Hello, Kristin!

First of all, I am so sorry your husband is feeling depressed, but I am so glad you are doing your best for him and are supporting him through difficult times for you both. I am a stroke survivor and my AVM derived bleed was in 2008; with embolization in 2009. I tried Kepra at different doses, Kepra XR (worse for me), Lamictal w Kepra, Trileptal at different dosages and am now the newest extended release version of Trileptal, called Oxtellar. With this last one, I have been seizure free since August 2012 (thank God, and thanks to my amazing Epileptologist at NYU Langone Center!).

So, both Kepra and Kepra XR, plus a horrible Neurologist at the time, threw me into a severe depression and passive suicidal stage! It was horrible, lonely and words cannot express how much I hurt all the loved ones around me. My husband luckily didn’t give up on me but we both needed marriage counseling and I am still committed to my neuro-psychiatrist (the best!), my anti-depressants (Pristiq) and my anti-anxiety meds (Klonopin). With 3 children under 7 yrs old, I have fought through hell to get to where I am today. Of course the stroke affected my ability to control stress, organization, etc., but I am convinced Kepra was the catalyst to it all!

Sounds like your husband should see an Epileptologist as well as his Neurologist every so often, and also a Psychiatrist who can ideally do the pharma as well as the classic psychotherapy (I am not an advocate of seeing a social worker for the psychotherapy and, separately, a psychiatrist for the pharma! This to me does NOT make any sense, especially as these two people often don’t even communicate!!

My Epileptologist decided on Trileptal, and now Oxtellar, after me doing a week’s EEG at NYU, WHERE THEY SAW EXACTLY WHERE MY SEIZURES CAME FROM (and therefore we’re able to conclude what type of seizures I have,NAND then medicate me for this type. Voila! Magic! Yes, expensive, and I am still paying this bill, after almost 15 months…

Anyhow, everyone is different, but the common to all is that a depressed brain is a non-working and confused brain, and it will only get worse.

Whatever you and your husband decide, please DO NOT cone out of Kepra alone and abruptly! This can take him to Status Epilepticus or even death.

Good luck. I will be thinking of you.

Ruth - 40 yrs old