Simple solution for little girl's seizures

December 22, 2008 5:22:01 PM PST
Life was bleak when Sophie Eickstead was born. She had a seizure almost every 60 seconds. Then, a UT-Houston neurologist recognized her rare problem. And an over-the-counter vitamin stopped her seizures. "I'm thankful that she's OK," said Laura Eickstean, Sophie's mother.

When Sophie was born, she was having a seizure every minute.

"She was stopping breathing after every one," said Laura. "That hospital was having a hard time figuring out what was going on."

After five days, Sophie's doctors called Dr. Ian Butler at UT-Houston medical school.

"They had tried other medications and we suggested in the interim they try her on vitamin B-6 pyridoxine," said Dr. Butler.

The seizures were caused by a rare problem and they were stopped by something incredibly simple and inexpensive -- taking vitamin B-6.

Sophie gets a vitamin B-6 tablet every day. Her mother crushes it and puts it in her drink and she's a seizure-free five-year-old in kindergarten. But it could have been different.

"If it's missed, the children have very severe seizures and children can die from seizures and certainly, they may end up surviving with severe mental retardation," said Dr. Butler.

"I wonder how many kids have had seizures and ended up not like Sophie," said Laura.

Laura is pregnant with a baby girl and she takes vitamin B-6 to protect the baby. After she's born, they'll do a genetic test.

"If we have it, we have it and we know what to do and how to deal with it and if we don't, we're thankful and glad we took the precautions ahead of time anyway," said Peter Eickstead, Sophie's father.

"It is worth thinking of even in older children who have not responded to anticonvulsant medications," said Dr. Butler.

A vitamin B-6 tablet has changed the future for Sophie, and possibly her soon to be born sister.

"There are few things that we can make a difference sometimes and this is one of them," said Dr. Butler.

Her doctor believes Sophie will be dependent on vitamin B-6 supplements for the rest of her life. And they're grateful that they had the knowledge in advance so they could protect their baby before she is born.

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