Long term use of buspar and adult onset seizures

Posted by keeg1010 @keeg1010, Aug 2, 2021

Hi all,
I have a 23 year old son diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy. He was born 3 months early and has had a lot of struggles. One thing we never had was seizures. He had MRI's, CT scans, and EEG's for the first 14 years of his life and no evidence of seizures. Recently, he has developed seizures. I know he is higher risk because of his history. He takes Abilify and Buspar. He had been on Buspar for over a decade. My son's neurologist is concerned about the Buspar for anti-anxiety. She stated that long term use can lead to seizures. Right now, we have no specific cause of the seizures, as his tests were normal. I asked her if she had a recommendation for an anti-anxiety that would work well with his seizure med (we are titrating up from 150mg in am and 100mg in pm to 200mg twice a day). She said any anti-anxiety but Buspar. Anyone have any experience with Buspar and could that be the cause of his seizures? Thanks for any help 🙂

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@keeg1010
Good evening from Calif.,
it sounds as though your son has a complex medical history. My understanding is that epilepsy is relatively common in Autism, about 30% and up to 50% in patients with cerebral palsy. Does the Neurologist know for sure if what he is experiencing are actual Epileptic Epilepsy (an abnormal electrical discharge/activity in the brain.)
Some people have Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), which are seizures caused by psychological issues. They don’t show up on EEG’s. However don’t assume thats what they are since 50% of EEG’s in known Epilepsy patients are normal. Was your son more stressed or anxious prior to the seizure? Stress is a known trigger for some people.
What kind of seizure(s) did he have? Was it a generalized seizure (unconsciousness) tonic-clonic seizure or a focal (old termanology, simple or complex partial seizure(s).)
Which anti seizure medicine is he starting?
You might consider having him seen by an Epileptologist at a Comprehensive Epilepsy Center if he doesn’t respond to medication or if there is any question regarding Psycogenic seizures. Here is a list of Epilepsy Centers,
https://www.naec-epilepsy.org/about-epilepsy-centers/find-an-epilepsy-center/
Best of luck,
Jake

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@keeg1010
Good evening from Calif.,
it sounds as though your son has a complex medical history. My understanding is that epilepsy is relatively common in Autism, about 30% and up to 50% in patients with cerebral palsy. Does the Neurologist know for sure if what he is experiencing are actual Epileptic Epilepsy (an abnormal electrical discharge/activity in the brain.)
Some people have Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), which are seizures caused by psychological issues. They don’t show up on EEG’s. However don’t assume thats what they are since 50% of EEG’s in known Epilepsy patients are normal. Was your son more stressed or anxious prior to the seizure? Stress is a known trigger for some people.
What kind of seizure(s) did he have? Was it a generalized seizure (unconsciousness) tonic-clonic seizure or a focal (old termanology, simple or complex partial seizure(s).)
Which anti seizure medicine is he starting?
You might consider having him seen by an Epileptologist at a Comprehensive Epilepsy Center if he doesn’t respond to medication or if there is any question regarding Psycogenic seizures. Here is a list of Epilepsy Centers,
https://www.naec-epilepsy.org/about-epilepsy-centers/find-an-epilepsy-center/
Best of luck,
Jake

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Hi Jake,
Thanks so much for responding. My son definitely does have a very complex medical history. He was born at 28 weeks and we had to do an emergency C-sec because the cord wrapped around his neck and we lost his heartbeat. Hence, the cerebral palsy diagnosis. He was receiving therapies since a year old and was on track socially, cognitively, and socially but was delayed in motor skills. Autism dx came when he was 2.5 years old, after he lost his language. Just a brief history. He's had MRI's and EEG's yearly up until about 8 years ago since his neurologist at the time said there was no need to do them yearly unless we experienced a new issue. His EEG's have always been normal and they can't find anything new on his MRI (he does have some scar tissue from birth due to a grade one brain bleed). His MRI status has never changed. His first seizure was in September of 2020. They are tonic-clonic, where he will yell one second before the episode and then loses consciousness, stiffens up, and begins to shake. They last 30-45 seconds and then he is wiped out for the day and wants to sleep. He's had a total of 3 episodes. He is non-verbal so it's difficult to say what is causing them. I know this last one was likely stress related. In June, he was at his day program on an outting and a staff member removed his shoes on the concrete and he ended up with 2nd degree burns on both feet. We are still working on healing. About 3 days before the seizure/episode, he was vomiting for 4 days and couldn't keep anything down. His GI diagnoses him with gastroparesis but I don't think the diagnosis is correct. Following the vomiting, we had 3 days of status quo. The morning he had the 3rd seizure, he woke up fine. He was just finishing breakfast when it happened. Same type…a yell and instant unconsciousness with stiffening and shaking, 30-45 seconds and it ended. He's been on Abilify (25mg total), Buspar 45mg twice a day, and lamactil (started low and we are now titrating up to 200mg twice a day). He was on 150mg lamactil in am, and 100mg lamactil pm. I have never heard of PNES so I'm definitely going to do my research. Sorry this is so long…I just wanted to give an overall picture of my son. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and for the information.
Kerry

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