Medicine therapy for
epilepsy can fail for several reasons:
You do not follow the treatment plan. You have to
follow your therapy routine exactly as your doctor orders, to have the best
chance of keeping seizures under control. Missing a dose here or there or
taking doses too close together can upset the levels of the drug in your body
and lead to seizures, severe side effects, and other health problems. If your
treatment is not controlling your seizures, your doctor will go over your
treatment plan with you to make sure that you not only understand it but also
are following it. The main cause of treatment failure is due to not following
the treatment plan.
You don't have epilepsy. You may be having
events that look like
seizures but are not. You may be having seizures, but
something other than epilepsy is causing them. Taking antiepileptic drugs when
you do not have epilepsy may not stop you from having seizures. If you do have
epilepsy, the diagnosis of your seizure type may still be wrong. Seizures are
hard to describe and hard to classify. Mistakes in identifying the types of
seizures you have can lead to choosing the wrong drug. A drug that prevents one
type of seizure may not work for another type or may even make seizures happen
The drug has too many adverse effects. Seizure
control is not the only measure of success. You may be free of seizures, but
the side effects of the drug may be so severe that you cannot take the drug
You take other medicines, herbs, or supplements. Many medicines for epilepsy can interact with other medicines you may be taking. This means that your epilepsy
medicine may not work as well. Some of these
interactions can be dangerous. It is important to tell your doctor about all the medicines, herbal pills, or dietary
supplements you are taking.
You have a condition that won't respond to drugs (a medically refractory, or intractable, condition). Some people have forms of
epilepsy that simply will not respond to drug therapy. Some of these people may be candidates for epilepsy surgery.
Others, particularly children, may respond well to a special diet. If drugs
do not control your or your child's seizures, you and your doctor may want to
look into other treatment options.
There are several reasons people may not take their medicine as
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They may forget or neglect to take medicine or to
refill their prescription. This may be the result of normal forgetfulness,
although memory problems or confusion may also contribute to
The guidelines for when and how they are to take medicine may
be too complicated.
They may be afraid to take medicine because of
short- or long-term side effects. Women who are pregnant or planning to become
pregnant may fear what effects the medicine will have on the
They may not be able to afford the medicine.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this