Celine Dion Recalls Taking Potentially 'Fatal' Dosage of Valium to Deal With Stiff-Person Syndrome
Cover Images/ROGER WONG

The 'Power of Love' singer says she was prescribed medications, including muscle relaxers like Valium, to relieve the progressive symptoms that began in the mid-2000s, including muscle spasms and difficulty breathing.

AceShowbiz - After managing undiagnosed stiff-person syndrome (SPS) symptoms for 17 years, Celine Dion reflects on her health journey with gratitude. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the music icon, 56, shares the progressive symptoms that began in the mid-2000s, including muscle spasms, difficulty breathing (affecting her singing) and severe "crisis" episodes that locked up her entire body.

Recalling the first spasm nearly 20 years ago during a tour in Germany, Dion describes how her vocal exercises worsened the situation. She sought help from various medical professionals, including ear, nose and throat physicians and ophthalmologists, but to no avail.

As her symptoms intensified, Dion was prescribed medications, including muscle relaxers like Valium. Initially, she found temporary relief, but the medication's effectiveness quickly diminished. She admits to taking up to 90 milligrams of Valium per day to manage her symptoms, a potentially fatal dosage that she was unaware of.

Today, Dion is "very happy and fortunate" to share her experiences to raise awareness about SPS, a rare and often misdiagnosed autoimmune neurological disorder. She is grateful for her diagnosis in August 2022 and has since embarked on a comprehensive treatment plan involving medication, immune therapy, vocal therapy and intense physical rehabilitation five days a week.

Dr. Amanda Piquet, Dion's physician and director of the autoimmune neurology program at the University of Colorado, emphasizes the full-time nature of Dion's treatments. Piquet believes that Dion's public disclosure about her experience will be life-changing for others struggling with SPS.

Despite the challenges, Dion remains determined to get back to performing. She is inspired by the support of her fans and hopes to invite them to sing with her again soon. She acknowledges that her voice is not yet at its peak but is confidently working towards recovery.

Dion's story is a testament to her resilience and her unwavering passion for music. Her journey serves as an important reminder of the importance of early diagnosis and proper treatment for rare diseases.

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