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  1. #1

    Medication and memory problems

    Is it possible that an SSRI could cause short term memory problems in my relative? (In this case it is effexor.) To note, the patient has cut their dose in half without consulting the doc. and has been in a hypomanic state for many months.

    Or...would excitement, anxiety, stress or attention difficulties contribute to the memory issues? Usually it is things like word retrieval, converstions forgotten, retelling information to others over and over again. On a few occasions it has been a bit of a blackout, totally forgot about an event (but only temporarily). Doctors began looking for stroke or other problems, but have found none. I began to make the medication or "state of mind" connection for two reasons. Once when the patient discontinued meds.briefly, the memory improved. Also the level of exhuberance/irritability tends to coincide with more memory difficulties.

    Also, what could be the effect of several drinks a night when taking effexor?....if anyone knows.

    Thanks for any comments!

  2. #2

    Re: medication and memory problems

    How old is the individual who is having these difficulties? Any one of the things you mentioned could be a contributing factor; however, the age of the patient is also relevant.

    For the record, the manufacturer recommends that people who take Effexor avoid drinking alcohol.

  3. #3

    Re: Medication and memory problems

    Thanks for your response. Well, she is in her mid 60's...but I'm still surprised that no doctor has thought this an avenue to explore. We have made an appointment with a psych. to give it a check.

  4. #4

    Re: Medication and memory problems

    The reason age is important is that there are a number of conditions that present with the symptoms you're describing. Alzheimer's is one, as are TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks...or, small strokes). TIAs don't always leave a trace that can be seen on a CAT scan, but they do have an effect.

    If this person is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, there are medications that can help her by slowing the progress of the disease. You might mention that to the doctors as a possiblity. I'm surprised they haven't considered it.

  5. #5

    Re: Medication and memory problems

    Thanks to That Lady for her response. Even after definite stroke like symptoms, recently (slurred speech, couldn't walk, etc) the neurologist (and stroke clinic doctor) have claimed my mother did not have a stroke!! But, as you said, a TIA may not alway show on the scan. These, by the way are not symptoms that I would have attributed to her meds. I 'm just following up on the previous answer in thread.

    The MRI showed nothing...the hospital didn't suspect a virus, but neurologist mentioned this as a possibility. Had no explanation for her memory problems...tested her and felt it wasn't Alzheimer's because when she has episodes of confusion, she bounces back and remembers what she has forgotten earlier after a rest. (Although the little details of short term memory from day to day still pose a problem).

    We feel helpless...and do believe she probably is having little infarcs. Or, could any of this be psych. related? Interesting, by the way, her memory was fine during the "stroke" (physical symptom) time.

    Thanks for any insight or ideas.

  6. #6

    Re: Medication and memory problems

    Hmm. I read your post in the other thread first, and said there that I'd be interested in the disturbing symptoms you'd noticed, not realizing you'd spoken of them in this thread.

    When your mother "couldn't walk", how did that manifest itself? Was she unable to stand? Was she unable to properly direct the movements of her legs? Did she tend to drag her feet, or one foot? Was anything else unusual noted, other than slurring of speech and being unable to walk? How long did the problems last, and was/is there any residual effects once the symptoms began to recede?

  7. #7

    Re: Medication and memory problems

    Thanks for your always prompt replies!

    She seemed to have the flu. She was vomitting for two days and taken to hospital when her speech became slurred and she was too weak to walk. She spent four days in a small town hospital (taken to Peterborough for cat scan). Her fine motor, gross motor and balance were all affected, both sides of body. TIA or stroke in cerebellum was suspected, all other things ruled out (like diabetes,etc.). She was given blood thinners and blood pressure meds and rehydrated. MRI done several days after cat scan showed nothing. Came to Ottawa for neurologist appointment that was a follow up of a trip to emergency here after a short episode of confusion (totally forgot when, why and where she going on a trip west, that she had booked herself).

    Now, I generally trust the medical profession, and know they can't find magical answers, but this experience has been weird. Neurologist felt she probably didn't have a stroke based on normal for age MRI and actually had the attitude that stroke prevention campaigns might be making everyone and their dog think they'd had a stroke. The stroke clinic doctor focused a lot on how much she might drink or what other drug interactions could have taken place. (She sometimes has a few drinks in an evening over several hours...well not anymore. Her family doctor is about to retire and is very complacent, precribed the effexor on mom's request, didn't seem to worry about her cutting her own dose...) I know I sound critical, but this is really how her experience has been. Kinda frustrating for her and those of us who care.

    So something chemical, something neurological or a bit of both. We don't know and neither do they. Next time she's in Ottawa, I'll encourage her to get a referral to a psychiatrist to review the effexor and for now we consider there was no stroke. No one told her not to drive, by the way.

    She is very tired by the way, but still has some signs of earlier hypomania, attention problems, tries to do everything, see everyone, talks a lot, then gets overwrought and irritable. Poor mommy!

    Thanks for listening!



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