Treatment can reduce or prevent
seizures in most people who have
epilepsy. This can improve quality of life.
Controlling your epilepsy also lowers the risk of falling and other
complications that can happen when you have a seizure.
doctor will figure out what type of epilepsy and what kinds of seizures you
have. Treatment that controls one kind of seizure may have no effect on other
kinds. Your doctor will also think about your age, health, and lifestyle when
he or she plans your treatment.
It may take time for you and your doctor
to find the right combination, schedule, and dosage of medicines to manage your
epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few side
effects as possible. With the help of your doctor, you can weigh the benefits
of a particular treatment against its drawbacks, including side effects, health
risks, and cost.
After you and your doctor figure out the treatment that works best for you, make sure to follow your treatment
exactly as prescribed.
Initial treatment for
epilepsy depends on the severity, frequency, and type
seizures and whether a cause for your condition has
been identified. Medicine is the first and most common approach. Antiepileptic
medicines do not cure epilepsy. But they help prevent seizures in well over
half of the people who take them.
- Epilepsy: Taking Your Medicines Properly
It is not always clear whether to begin
treatment after a first seizure. It is hard to
predict whether you will have more seizures. Antiepileptic medicines are
not usually prescribed unless you have risk factors for having another seizure,
such as brain injury, abnormal test results, or a family history of
epileptic seizures continue even though you are being
treated, additional or other antiepileptic medicines may be tried.
In addition to medicines, other treatments may be added
to help reduce the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures,
- Ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat
diet that has been used with some success to treat people, especially children,
who have severe, uncontrolled seizures. Some doctors may not support its
- Vagus nerve stimulation. The stimulator device is used
with medicine or surgery.
- Brain surgery. Some
people with epileptic seizures do not respond to medicine but have great
success with surgery.
Surgery is not used just as a last resort to treat
epilepsy. Although brain surgery may sound frightening, it can successfully
reduce seizures that are harmful, severe, frequent, or do not respond to
medicines. Surgery can greatly improve the lives of some carefully screened
people who have epilepsy.
If you would like to know if surgery is a good choice for you, talk with your
Treatment if the condition gets worse
If you have
epilepsy with seizures that have not been controlled
with medicines or other treatments, you may want to think about having surgery to
reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures. While brain surgery may
sound frightening, it can be effective in reducing epileptic seizures and can
greatly improve the quality of your life. Surgery for epilepsy may involve
removing an area of abnormal tissue in the brain (such as a tumor or scar
tissue) or the specific area of brain tissue where seizures begin.
What to think about
Early treatment may reduce the
risk of progressing to more frequent and severe seizures.
more likely to have additional seizures if you have had two or more seizures.
Doctors usually recommend treatment in these cases.