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    Drugs for Children With Epilepsy

    (continued)

    Types of Epilepsy Drugs continued...

    Less common side effects of epilepsy drugs include depression, irritability, and hyperactivity. Many epilepsy drugs cause specific side effects, and you should ask your child's doctor about them. Any side effects should be checked out with a doctor. This is especially true of rashes, which could indicate a possibly dangerous allergic reaction to the drug.

    How much of a drug should your child take? There isn't a strict rule about this, and it varies with each child. Usually, doctors will try different epilepsy drugs at different doses to determine the best one for your child. Your child should take just enough medicine to prevent seizures without causing side effects. You and your child's doctor may need to tinker with the prescription over a few months to find the right dose. It's worth the effort. Too much medication increases the side effects, while too little leaves your child vulnerable to seizures.

    Also, as your child grows, the doctor may adjust the dose of medication (blood levels sometimes help with this decision).

    The Value of Epilepsy Drugs

    You may be nervous about giving powerful epilepsy drugs, with all their possible side effects, to a small child. But drug treatments usually work, and stopping the seizures is crucial.

    Still, you do need to take precautions to use these drugs safely. For instance, you have to be careful that the epilepsy medicine does not interact with another drug, supplement or herb your child may take. Make sure to tell your doctor about all medications and supplements your child is using before you begin an anti-seizure medicine. It is also important to tell your doctor about any new drugs that are started after your child is on anti-seizure medicine.

    Some parents worry that their children may later abuse drugs after taking epilepsy medicines during childhood. Rest assured, there is no evidence that children treated with epilepsy drugs are at higher risk for drug abuse.

    Tips for Taking Epilepsy Drugs

    For a child with epilepsy, sticking to a medication schedule can be tough. It can be hard for a child to remember to take medicine twice or even three times a day.

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