What are the treatment options for epilepsy?

Daily medication is a standard treatment for epilepsy after a second seizure has occurred. When drugs are ineffective, different management options include a special diet, implantation of a neurostimulator, or neurosurgery.

Join an epilepsy online support group to connect with others supporting themselves and loved ones living with epilepsy. 

  • Anticonvulsant medications are a common standard treatment for epilepsy, sometimes for a person’s entire life. Choice of anticonvulsant depends on type of seizure, type of syndrome, other meds used, other health issues, and age and lifestyle. Some of these may have adverse side effects, so it is important to perform research and have an honest discussion with your doctor.

 

  • Epilepsy surgery may be an option for people who continue to experience seizures despite other treatments. Goal of surgery is complete control of seizures, and is achieved in 60-70% of cases. People can often be tapered off medication after surgery.

 

  • Neurostimulation may be an option for those who are not candidates for surgery.

 

  • A ketogenic diet (high fat, low carb, adequate protein) has been reported to decrease or eliminate seizures in some, though it is unclear why it works. There are potential side effects, so less radical diets may be easier and still effective. A gluten-free diet may decrease seizures in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

 

  • Avoidance therapy can provide techniques to minimize or eliminate triggers for those sensitive to light or sound.

 

  • Seizure dogs may be helpful for some during or after a seizure. It is unclear whether dogs have the ability to predict seizures.

 

  • Alternative therapies are said to be effective by some people, though there is not yet enough evidence to support usage.  Some available options include:
  • Vitamins
  • Acupuncture
  • Cannabis
  • Yoga
  • Melatonin

 

* First aid procedures should be known by both the person with epilepsy as well as caregivers/family/close friends. This usually involves positioning the person to avoid inhalation of fluids and prevent further injury. A seizure lasting longer than 5 minutes or more than two seizures within an hour may require emergency medical assistance.*

 
 
epilepsy treatment
 
 

Sources:
  •  "Treatment." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Apr. 2017. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.

 

From Our Blog: Epilepsy - Seizure First Aid

Poorly controlled seizures can lead to injuries, limitations at school or work, and an inability to drive. If you are with someone who has a seizure, it is important to have a general idea of what to do, and what things to avoid. Also, be aware of things to look for that would require calling emergency medical services.

epilepsy - seizure first aid infographic


 

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