For many years, antiepileptic
medicine was the only treatment for people with
epilepsy. This is still true for many people, although
surgery is now an option for some. Seizures that cannot be controlled with
medicine or treated by surgery may sometimes respond to other
Ketogenic diet, which is a diet that
tries to force the body to use more fat for energy (instead of sugar) by
severely limiting carbohydrates—such as bread, pasta, some fruits and
vegetables, and fluids—and total calories.
Vagus nerve stimulator, which is a small device implanted under the skin near your
collarbone. It is programmed to regularly send weak electrical signals to the
vagus nerve in your neck, which in turn sends the signals to your brain at
regular intervals to reduce seizures. The vagus nerve stimulator may help
reduce severe, uncontrolled
partial seizures in adults as well as children.
What to think about
The ketogenic diet has been used
with some success in treating children with severe seizures who have not
responded to antiepileptic medicines. It has been especially effective in
treating seizures related to
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy
that does not respond well to medicines. Extremely high in fat and low in
carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet can be hard to follow.