Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sjogren's Syndrome and Dreams. Again.

I wrote this post ages ago, (11/13/10), but it mysteriously vanished from my Blogger archives, and was unable to find anything but a previous draft. And why I can resurrect THAT is also mysterious.....anyway, here it is, again. Thanks to alert reader Connie, who let me know that it was gone. 

Image found on Wikimedia.

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?

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