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Does marijuana swell the meninges and could that cause seizure? Had meningioma removed, taking Keppra

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My friend had a meningioma removed 13 months ago. Since then, he's been on Keppra to control seizures. According to his neurological surgeon, the entire tumor was removed and it was benign. No therapy of any kind was required post-op. My friend has had three separate incidents of seizures in the past year. The first two times, we think he had seizures because he'd tried to wean himself off the Keppra. He is very concerned about long-term use of Keppra because of the potential for liver damage. However, last week, he threw three seizures within a couple hours of each other. He was late on half a dose of Keppra (should have taken before bed but forgot), but still had plenty in his system. He smokes marijuana and says that mj swells the meninges, so he thinks that could be the only reason he had a seizure. I am asking if that is true: does marijuana swell the meninges and could that have caused the seizure? I think it's more likely that scar tissue is causing the seizures. I wish there was something positive I could tell him, like "the scar tissue will go down and you will eventually stop having seizures" but I'm not sure if that is true. His neurologists are unaware of the mj smoking. He has stopped (and stopped drinking alcohol a long time ago) but is depressed because he wants his normal life back without meds or seizures. Is he right to have quit smoking pot?
Posted Thu, 19 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
 
 
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 14 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for the query.

From the description it looks to me like he is suffering from scar epilepsy which is seen after removal of tumors like meningioma. Keppra is a safe medicine and does not have any major side effects like liver damage. Moreover all rare side effects which are mentioned in the medicine leaflet need not be seen in all those who take the medicine. Marijuana may not be the one responsible for his seizures.

So I personally feel continuing the prescribed dose of Keppra and preventing the recurrence of seizures is absolutely required to prevent further brain damage in him. Tell him he has done a good job by stopping smoking and alcohol. Taking him to a Psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist would be of benefit if he is suffering from depression.

Let me know if I have missed out any other concern in your question.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.

Sincerely,

Dr Shiva Kumar R
Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Does marijuana swell the meninges and could that cause seizure? Had meningioma removed, taking Keppra 6 hours later
Thank you. He already has a psychologist that he sees regularly, so he's covered there. He teaches martial arts and gets plenty of exercise and meditation as well.

My other question would be, is it possible that the scar tissue will reduce over time so that, eventually, he will have fewer or no seizures after more healing takes place? I am guessing this could take several years, but I want to know if that is possible at all or is it more likely that there will always be a concern about seizures?

I am hoping it's likely a simple matter of time and patience until he could live a seizure-free life.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 18 hours later
Hello,
Thanks for getting back to us.

Regarding the scar tissue, it can become organized over time and irritate the surrounding brain lesser and can become inactive. Till then, preventing seizures to avoid damage to a healthy brain is vital. On an average, it takes atleast 2-3 years for the scar tissue to become inactive. Hence, he needs to be on these medicines till then and follow up regularly with his neurologist for further advice.

Let me know if I have missed out any other concern in your question.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.

Sincerely,

Dr Shiva Kumar R
Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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