Epilepsy is a serious condition that needs safe and appropriate treatment. The goal of treatment is to lessen or eliminate the occurrence of seizures.
Once an exact diagnosis has been made, each treatment options will be explored. Treatment depends on the type of epilepsy a person has and treatment could either be long term or short term. The most important treatment, probably the standard, is the use of medications such as anti-epileptic and anticonvulsant drugs. These drugs are efficient in controlling seizures in many people. Common drugs prescribed for people with epilepsy include the following:
Other treatments such as surgery, dietary changes and exercise may be included in management.
Finding the right treatment for a person could be complex as there are a lot of things to be considered. These include the patient’s age, general condition, frequency of seizures and other factors. Taking other drugs will also be reviewed by the doctor to ensure that the anti-epileptic drugs will not interact with them. Different medications and dosages might be attempted before you can get the drug that suits you.
Many people with epilepsy become seizure-free by receiving one anti-epileptic medication while others take a combination of drugs to be able to reduce the intensity and frequency of their seizures. Most of the time, the doctor will first prescribe one drug at a low dosage. This may be increased slowly until the seizures are controlled. The only person who’s authorized to decide when to stop taking anti-epileptic drugs is the doctor.
Children with epilepsy who are not experiencing any symptoms while they are receiving treatment can discontinue medications in the long run and they will be able to live a life that is seizure free. Adults can also stop taking medications if they have not experienced seizures for more than two years
Just like other medications, drugs used for epilepsy also carry their own side effects and risks. Common side effects of anti-seizure drugs include:
- Weight gain
- Skin rashes
- Speech problems
- Thought and memory problems
- Decreased bone density
- Loss of coordination
- Problems in vision
- Upset stomach
Rare side effects are:
- Severe rash
- Suicidal thoughts
- Inflammation of organs like the liver
If the anti-epileptic drugs fail to manage the symptoms of epilepsy, other treatments may be suggested.
Surgery is another option for the treatment of epilepsy. However, it is only performed in severe cases where the anti-epileptic medications have not been successful in managing seizures. Surgery is also recommended in people who have uncontrolled seizures for at least one year.
Changes in lifestyle and diet can help manage epilepsy. A ketogenic diet may be prescribed by the physician or nutritionist. Ketogenic diet is low in carbs and high in fat diet. Doctors may also advise patients to restrain unhealthy choices and behaviors which can interfere with the treatment.
Every person is different, thus treatment that works for one person may not work for other people. It is important to discuss everything with regards to the epilepsy so the doctor will be able to construct a treatment that is specific for the person’s individual needs.
- Anti-epileptic drugs are efficient in controlling seizures in many people
- Other treatments for epilepsy are surgery, dietary changes and exercise
- Finding the right treatment for a person could be complex as there are a lot of factors to be considered