Sunday, 12 April 2009

Epilepsy

"More than just a bad hair day" by Susie Mallett 2005

Epilepsy, yet one more of the added problems that many teenagers with cerebral palsy develop.

An upside down world

A client of mine developed epilepsy about three years ago when he was fifteen years old. A time when long and lanky legs made walking even more difficult, adolescent spots made him self conscious and teenage-aggression had to be kept under control too. Then added to these came epilepsy. At first it turned his world upside down, he just couldn’t believe he had something else to deal with and for his whole life.

Finding the balance

He soon learnt to manage the daily task of taking medicine and his fight for independent living is no longer greatly affected by the illness. His dosage has been altered to control it and he is back on an even keel again.

He has however asked me to help with a related problem and as it is Easter and I can not phone his doctor, who is on holiday, we thought as well as googling we could ask my blog.

Can anyone help us? Perhaps someone who has experience with the taking of drugs for epilepsy?

Bad breath

Ever since he started to take the medicine this young man has suffered badly from a strong
smelling saliva. This is actually causing more problems for him than it normally would as he finds it difficult to swallow resulting in his chin and clothes often being wet from the saliva. This means that even when they dry his clothes also begin to take on the same odour.

It is known that the taking of some medicines, for example phenytoin, can cause many side affects amongst them dental and gum problems.

However my client doesn’t take this, he takes Sultiam. One of the known side effects of this medicine is stomach acidity which is what we guessed could be the cause of the bad smelling breath of my client. We don't want to carry on guessing, but there is very little known about this medicine which was only "rediscovered" in the 1980s. I have discovered what some of Sultiam's side affects could be but I have found nothing on how to counteract these, no remedies, no suggestions that anything should or could be done.

We are trying all sorts of methods to counteract the bad breath. My client cleans his teeth and washes his face regularly, and he chews a peppermint now and again to try to solve the problem, but the odour soon returns.

Does he need to live with this?

What do other people do who take these tablets, surely he isn’t the only person it effects in this way?

Is there a herbal or natural substance he can use or can a change of diet help?

We have read that aniseed can remove the odour for several hours but we are reluctant to use this as I believe it was earlier a remedy itself for epilepsy and we do not want to upset the applecart.

Many thanks

All suggestions will be extremely welcome. We would like to make the path to adulthood and independence a little less rocky for this young man.

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