Lupus Brain Fog
I was recently diagnosed with Lupus and have been on Plaquenil less than a month. Should it help with the Lupus Brain Fog? If so when? What else have other suffers found that really works?
Hi, Anna. Plaquenil can take a long time to kick it, so it may be up to six months before you notice real improvement. It helps the fatigue and brain fog in some people but doesn't work as well for others, so you and your doctor may have to experiment to see what works for you.
There is a medicine called provigil which increases daytime alertness and is sometimes prescribed for severe lupus fatigue. Some people find that it helps the lupus fog.
Mild exercise like yoga and tai chi can also improve concentration - many ymcas and health clubs offer classes in these areas.
If you are experiencing problems like memory loss, trouble speaking, word confusion, or acute confusion, you should talk to your doctor about being evaluated by a neurologist. Lupus can cause neurological problems that are sometimes dismissed as "brain fog", so it's important to make your doctor aware of any unusual symptoms.
There are several other posts under this topic forum about brain fog, so looking back at some of the earlier posts might help you with more information.
Thanks Marycain -- I will read the other posts
I've been tested by a neurologist and while my MRI's came back vasculitis free (whew) BUT my cognitive tests were an issue. While I was well above average on all other areas, I came back below average on concentration, focus and executive decision making. A huge change from my days leading teams @ GE or always being the highest scorer on tests. (Not bragging, because I had nothing to do with it -- genes -- more trying to illustrate the difference between now and then.)
I have been meaning to check out Tai Chi (my parents do it), Yoga, water-based classes, and return to Pilates -- but my energy levels just haven't been there yet.
I've heard good things about Provigil, but I'm not sure my insurance would cover it for Lupus -- my dr mentioned it was often covered for sleep disorders. However, the sleep study I did came out relatively OK. I My "stages" were appropriately weighted -- I just didn't sleep as many hours as I should optimally.
I've had Sjogrens (a majority of my teeth have had to be root canaled and crowned) for years -- and now that's been compounded with the Lupus, Fibromyalgia, & Arthritis diagnoses. Since there's so much overlap, It's confusing to know which symptoms -- joint pain, cognitive issues, fatigue etc go with which disease/treatment.
Also, may I just say that it is a treat to hear from someone who is so well spoken and knowledgeable. (No slur on other posters intended.) I read some of your other posts and in all the message boards (on any topic) I've rarely seen such effective use of the English language. (Which I can be a bit of snob about at times...) You are a credit to the group -- if you have any kind of Lupus Fog -- it doesn't seem to come out here....
Thank you for those kind words - you have no idea how much I appreciate them. I often get frustrated because I know what I want to say but have trouble typing it out, which is maddening for someone who used to be a 95wpm typist just a couple of years ago. It's nice to know I'm not babbling as much as I think I am.
Like you, I also have sjogrens and some related problems, but my primary illness is a lupus/scleroderma overlap. It does make it hard when the symptoms seem to run together, and treatment for one illness exacerbates another - a constant problem with steroids and fibromyalgia. Luckily, the brain fog doesn't affect my verbal abilities much, but math is a different story. I now have trouble even balancing my checkboook or helping the boys with math homework. I also find myself going to the grocery for cereal and coming home with crackers, so I have to use a list. Thank heaven for post-it notes; I'm not sure I could survive without them.
If your doctor is open to alternative and complementary therapies, there are some things which may help the brain fog. DHEA supplements and two plant-based supplements - Vinpocetine and Gotu Kola - are being used by some naturopaths to improve memory, concentration and overall energy levels. DHEA is available from many health food stores, but pharmaceutical grade DHEA is available by prescription only. Most clinical or research studies of DHEA use the pharmaceutical grade product. As with any alternative therapies, check with your doctor first.
Biofeedback training and cognitive therapy can also be very helpful. Biofeedback is also helpful in managing Reynauds.