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Epilepsy - Other Treatment

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 treatments.

Other treatment choices

Treatments for epilepsy that can be used along with medicines and surgery may include:

  • 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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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