Seizures, Liver Disease, and Vomiting

Epileptic Seizures and Liver Disease

Mia’s was twelve years old when she first was seen by Dr. Craig. Mia had always had seizures, since she was a year of age. Her owner reached out fot Traditional Chinese Medicince (acupuncture and herbs) because despite the current medications, she was seizuring in clusters, (several closely linked seizures), at least two to three times a week. In addtion to the seizures, she was activiely vomiting almost every day. Mia had always vomited intermittently throughout her life, starting at about three years of age.

Liver Qi Stagnation and Phlegm Fire

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, seizures are a manifestation of Internal Wind. There are many causes for Internal Wind. Based on Mia’s medical history, her personality traits, her physical exam findings, she was diagnosed as having Liver Qi Stagnation as the cause of her seizures. Her vomiting was also related to the Liver Qi Stagnation. When the Liver becomes excessive, the excess can spill over and affect the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Initial acupuncture needle placement involved using points to disperse the Wind, Calm the Liver Qi Stagnation, and Calm the Mind.

How did Mia respond to the acupuncture sessions?

Mia was seen one week after the first treatment; her owner reported no seizures but still vomiting daily, but not several times a day. She continued to have weekly treatments for six weeks. During that period, the owner reported TWO seizures. The episodes of vomiting also decreased, having only a few intermittent episodes in the six-week period. The treatments were gradually tapered out to once a month treatments.

Mia continues to have monthly treatments. As of 8/2017, it has been almost a year of treatments. Between 7/5/2016  (her first treatment and 8/22/2107, Mia has a total of FOUR seizures reported. Her regurge/vomiting continues intermittently, maybe once to twice a week.

5/2018 Summary Update: Mia is now almost 14 years old and is doing great. She continues to rule the household, all 9.4 pounds. We see her once a month for her acupuncture treatments. We started treating Mia in 7/2016 when she was having cluster seizures at least twice a week. She regurged or vomited at least once or twice a day. Between 8/2017 and 5/2018, she has had THREE seizures, all were mild. Her regurge and vomiting occurs infrequently.

Did you change any of her Western medications?

Both Western and Eastern modalities are needed to control the seizures in patients with severe seizure patterns. I did not eliminate the seizure medications.

Any other recommendations?

I prescribed two Chinese herbal formulas. Long Dan Xie Gan to address her Liver Qi Stagnation and Liver Heat and Di Tan Tang to address the Wind, the seizures. After the Liver Qi Stagnation and Heat pattern resolved, I changed the herbal formula to Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan to address her inherent unbalanced Wood Elemental Constitution. I changed her diet to a prescription diet specific for her chronic liver disease.  I believe in the liver supportive effects of milk thistle. My preference is Hepato Support by RX Vitamins. Mia was already on Denamarin, a brand of similar quality. Mia’s history indicated that she tended to vomit more frequently with an empty stomach.  I suspected acid reflux involvement and recommended Pepcid once a day.