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Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Jan was prescribed Paroxetine as part of her list of medications and we used that for some while.

One of the groups that is not recommended for this medication is those who have epilepsy, which may also add to the assumption that Jan did not have seizures. Since it was the faints that initially alerted us to her condition, there was no chance that a doctor would not have known about that.


Registered User
Jun 7, 2005
South Carolina
Brucie said:
Forgive me if I don't always take what medics say as the final word. They hate things that they can't understand, so they - as we all do - like to put things into categories they do understand, because that is better than being able to come up with no solution.
Thanks for the explanation and links. It is indeed an interesting subject. Thanks for the links you posted too Hazel.



Registered User
Jul 29, 2005
Firstly, there were big and little faints [no, NOT petit and grand mals]. In the big ones, her bladder would go and we'd get a wet bed. So that would show she had fainted. That was in the early days.

The second part is that one gets used to listening and feeling the faints in the other person. They slump - and in Jan's case, sometimes stopped breathing.

I learned to sleep so lightly that I could detect the slump as it happened.

On a couple of occasions I thought she had died, so heavy was the faint.

One night, Jan fainted 6-7 times, the peculiar thing being they happened at hourly intervals. The final faint I managed to predict to the second. Don't forget, Jan was sleeping, and thus not responding to my expectations.

The cessation of breathing during sleep is most likely due to sleep apnea. An overnight polysomnogram would be needed to diagnose this. The "big faints" associated with bladder incontinence were most likely nocturnal seizures; again a polysom would be needed to pick this up, or alternatively simply an empirical trial of an anticonvulsant med--you Brits are fond of lamotrigine, which is an excellent drug. AD is a risk factor for development of epilepsy in the elderly.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Always glad to have other views of Jan's problems.

She had sleep EEGs and sleep apnea was discounted, or at least, not diagnosed.

She didn't just stop breathing, it is difficult to describe, but the way she slumped in her sleep when breathing stopped was just like a faint. I always assume seizures have some other manifestations - she has hand movements now when she has a seizure. There were none such when she had these episodes in bed, or out.

trial of an anticonvulsant med--you Brits are fond of lamotrigine Lamotrigine was cleared by the FDA in 1994, by which time Jan had already having these episodes for 3 years. This medication was never mentioned. Are there other types in common use that I might recognise? :confused: These days they use Diazepam immediately after a seizure.

My mind is open as to what such faints/fits/seizures are eventually attributed to. In Jan's case it is all totally academic now.

I am inclined to think that observation is more effective as a means of diagnosis than reading views by non-qualified people such as myself, and at the time, Jan's several neurologists never refuted what I was saying. Maybe they just wanted me to shut up... ;) By and large, they mostly ignored the faints, beyond just a few tests such as the sleep EEG.


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005

Fainting, low blood pressure, fits

Dad was a source of great amusement when he was younger because of his tendency to faint, he was such a big, strong intimidating man, but then he would just keel over like a nancy boy!

He's always had low blood pressure and so thats what his faints were put down to, but now I've been reading these post, I wonder?!

I do remember my Mum saying how she used to worry about Dad when he was sleeping because he appeared to stop breathing sometimes...this was years before AD and continued on into it.

These days he falls down sometimes but we're not sure if he's fainting, fitting or tripping. He has had fits however, one very severe.

I don't know if you found out about anymore medications for Jan and fitting Brucie, but Dad has been on epilim (I don't know if it has another name in the UK) which is a drug for epileptics and it seems to have stopped his fits, at least we haven't seen any since he's been on it, except when they tried reducing his dose recently.

Another thing that may be entirely unrelated but Dad's heart skips beats quite regularly and he got diagnosed with some technical name to describe it just before he started suffering obvious signs of having dementia as well.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi jc141265
Dad's heart beat problem with the technical name was probably "Atrial Fibrillation" a type of Arrhythimia.
I have it,the Atria contract irregularly at such a high rate that the Ventricles cannot keep pace.
The danger if untreated is a possible stroke.
I was in day hospital on two occasions to receive the treatment to shock the heart back into rhythm,it didn't work with me and is now controlled with medication.


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Nat,

Thanks for those links - both were quite interesting. I had my husband read the first one in particular (he is a lecturer in biochemistry at U. of Cambridge so is better at following the "cellular" stuff than me). He thought it was interesting and quite plausible. It wasn't something he had come across before either.

Please chip in with the URL feast as much as you like! I admit to enjoying research work - it's also a great displacement activity. I'm doing a lot of web site development work at the moment, so Google is only a few clicks away.

Take care,