What are the Treatments For Epilepsy?

After you're diagnosed with epilepsy, you have several ways to get treatment. You may feel more well with medication, special diets, surgery, or an implant to treat your brain and nerves.

Seizure Medication

It is likely that your doctor will recommend you try it first. This works in about seven out of ten epileptics. Epilepsy medications, sometimes called anti-seizure or anticonvulsant medications, change the way your brain cells work and send messages to each other.

There are a few factors that will determine the type of medication you doctor recommends:

One person may find a drug that works for them to be ineffective for someone else. It is possible to need more than one. People who have epilepsy are able to find the right medication on their first and second attempts.

It is possible to begin with a lower dose, and then gradually increase the dosage. It all depends on which medicine you use.

A blood test will be done before your medicine is started. Your doctor may request that you have blood tests done while you take the medicine. These will help to determine how your body reacts to it.

Depending on the type of epilepsy medication you are taking, any other medications you're currently using, as well as your health condition, how often they will be needed.

Talk to your doctor about any other medication or supplements that you are taking, regardless of whether you purchase them without a prescription. Seizure medications can interact with other drugs and make them not work as well.

Side Effects

Some side effects are more serious than others. Discuss with your doctor any side effects that may be associated with your particular medication. Side effects vary depending upon which medicine you use.

You may experience more severe side effects.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call your doctor immediately. You should not discontinue taking the medication without first talking with your doctor.

How to Stop Taking Your Medication

Some people are able to stop their seizure medication. Only your doctor should be consulted for this.

If you haven't had any seizures in at least 2 to 4 years, your doctor may help you slowly stop your medication.

Some types of seizures only happen in children and younger teenagers. A doctor may recommend that you stop taking your medication if your age is older than 18 years.

Ketogenic Diet

It is high-fat and low-carbohydrate. Your doctor may suggest it, depending on the type of seizures you have. It is not something that you should do. Discuss the matter with your doctor or a nutritionist.

Usually the ketogenic diet is given to children when medication hasn't helped their seizures, but some studies show that it can also work for adults.

You may feel slower at first. You may also experience the following side effects:

Nerve Stimulation

Two types of nerve stimulation exist:

Vagus nerve stimulation. It runs down your spine, from your stomach to your head, along your neck to your brain's lower half. You control things you already know, such as your heartbeat.

The doctor will place a tiny device, called a vagus neuro stimulator, under the skin on your chest and then connect it with the nerve.

Small bursts are sent through your nerves to your brain by the device. You will likely still require medication. You can have the settings adjusted at your appointment by a neurologist to make sure you get what works for you. The device does not suit everyone.

Responsive neurostimulation. The procedure involves the surgical implant of a small device called a neurostimulator. Your doctor puts it under your skull bone. It looks for patterns in your brain activity that can lead to a seizure. The neurostimulator sends out little pulses to stop seizures when it sees these patterns. This device is not available to everyone. It is dependent on what type of epilepsy you have.

There are two types of surgery:

Resective surgery. The surgeon will remove the part of your brain that causes the seizures. This surgery is most often done when the part of the brain causing the seizures is very small, has very good boundaries, and doesn't control things like your speech, movement, sight, or hearing.

Disconnective surgery. Instead of removing part of your brain, the surgeon will cut the paths between the nerves in your brain that are involved in your seizures.