Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sjogren's Syndrome and Dreams

A Dream of a Girl Before Sunrise by Karl Briullov found on Wikimedia Commons

I don't know about y'all, but ever since I was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, my dreams have been.....well......really strange. Vivid. Memorable. And in technicolor. Actually, they're usually pretty entertaining. On occasion my dreams seem somewhat sinister, but overall I'd say most mornings I wake up and marvel at all my dream shenanigans. I especially enjoy those dreams that find me flying under my own power in a clear blue sky. Fun.

I guess I've had strange dreams before Sjs of course, but not at least three or more nights per week.

Last night's sleep adventure was a doozy. I was working in a dialysis unit which was located in a school. I was running back and forth between the dialysis patients and the students and things just weren't going well. At all. I woke up frantic, certain that I had left some poor forgotten patient dialyzing away in a corner somewhere. While all my junior - high students were running amok. NOT one of my favorite dreams.

This morning, as I was perusing the posts on the Sjogren's World forum, I noticed a thread that discussed plaquenil (one of the commonly prescribed medications used in the treatment of autoimmune disease) and it's effect on dreams. Everyone imaginable chimed in and agreed that their dreams had definitely taken a turn for the zany after they began taking this medication. I Googled plaquenil and vivid dreams and brought up a zillion pages with links to similar discussions.

Gee. I hadn't thought of linking my weirdo dreams with plaquenil, but it seemed to make sense. The official FDA information for plaquenil mentions the possibility of nightmares as an adverse effect of the drug. Well, then, I thought. That explains it.

As I sipped my morning coffee and thought about this latest little information nugget, I took a skeptical look at my pile of medications for the day, and started wondering if any of the other drugs that I pop morning and night may have similar side effects. Sure enough:

I take klonopin nightly for restless leg syndrome, and vivid dreams and nightmares are listed in it's side effects. My morning dose of prednisone can cause sleep disturbances which may lead to altered dreams. So can the synthroid that I take daily because of my lazy thyroid gland.

Good grief in a bucket. If my dreams were consistently frightening nightmares that disrupted my sleep, I wouldn't have a clue which medication to blame. I'm lucky that my dreams are more often pleasantly adventuresome than problematic.

But then, one should also consider the fact that Sjogren's syndrome all by it's lovely little self can cause sleep disturbances and central nervous system issues, both of which could affect my sleep and thus dreams. You can read more about CNS and Sjogren's syndrome here.


Was the quality of your dreams changed by autoimmune disease?


Robin said...

Wow - you sleep? I usually wake up between 2 and 4 am. And that is with taking Trazodone and 2 extra strength Tylenol. The Trazodone can cause nightmares according to my rhuemy. I also take Plaquenil - I've noticed that I do dream more (when I do sleep). I'm not sure if it's just my husband's snoring and tossing keeping me awake or it's just me waking up on my own. ( And of course all my daytime brain fog is gone at 3am - if only I was that alert at work.) What bothers me the most is that my hands go to sleep several times a night and also burn, tingle and ache, along with my wrists. Does anyone else have that problem?

Anonymous said...

My dreams aren't caused by plaquenil, but they sure are fun! Last night I
was so agitated that my talking and yelling woke up both my husband and my
dog three different times. They were great dreams, though...

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Robin - Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause similar symptoms as the ones that you describe. Sjogren's syndrome can definitely cause neurological problems which include carpal tunnel syndrome, so you may want to discuss this with your doctor. See my sidebar for links to my posts regarding neurological and peripheral neuropathy caused by Sjogren's syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Hi: I have sjogren's syndrome. I also experienced burning tingling, numbing hands and wrists. Night and day for many years. This was cured in two months after going on a gluten free diet. Since then I have developed joint pain in other areas but wrists and hands are good.

Karen said...

OH, yes. I have been having the weirdest dreams-usually 3-5 times a week. Interesting to know that plaquenil might be the reason. Never happened as much when I wasn't on it. Good to read this.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with Sjogren's a few months ago but started having symptoms about 10 years ago. Lately I've been noticing some weird things when I sleep. Last night I woke up and touched my husband's neck. He jumped and asked what I was doing. I said, "You have something on your neck." I saw a red teardrop on his neck, but I was still sleeping. He of course went to the bathroom to see nothing on his neck. I had never done that before. I'm usually a very light sleeper.

Anonymous said...

I have PSS and lately been having constant dreams, jumping from one to another on the same night. Some are crazy, like my subconscience is overactive when I sleep. I wake up exhausted.