Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Epilepsy Health Center

Select An Article

What Is Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Font Size

Diagnosis of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Doctors diagnose juvenile myoclonic epilepsy based on the presence of myoclonic jerks together with other seizure types. Different tests can help make the diagnosis of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): by attaching a set of adhesive electrodes to the scalp, a technician records brain waves during this painless test. A neurologist interprets the EEG. In juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, a pattern of spikes and waves is often present, especially in response to flashing lights. To confirm the diagnosis, an EEG can be done while asleep and just after awakening.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): this high-resolution scan of the brain is normal in children with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.
  • Computed tomography (CT): this brain scan creates lower quality images than an MRI, but is faster and more widely available. CT brain scans are also normal in people with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

Myoclonic jerks of the legs and arms are common in people without epilepsy. In fact, they're normal as a person falls to sleep. The key to the diagnosis of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is the additional presence of either absence seizures or convulsive seizures.

Treatment of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Depakote (valproate or valproic acid) is often used to treat juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Depakote is a broad-spectrum anti-seizure drug, and can treat each of the three seizure types that occur in people with JME.

Other epilepsy drugs are effective in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, too. Effective treatment depends on using a medicine that controls all three seizure types seen in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Keppra (levetiracetam), Topamax (topiramate), and Lamictal (lamotrigine) all treat juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

For most people with JME, treatment is long-term, and often lifelong. However, treatment is effective, allowing most people with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy to go five years or more between seizures.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on April 18, 2015
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

human head and brain waves
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Grand mal seizure
How is each one different?
marijuana plant
CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
prescription bottle
Which medication is right for you?
Seizures Driving
Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
Graces Magic Diet
Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
first aid kit
Caring Child Epilepsy
Making Home Safe
epilepsy monitoring

WebMD Special Sections