Treatments to control epilepsy include anti-seizure medications, special diets (usually in addition to anti-seizure medications) and surgery. Between 60 and 70 percent of patients with epilepsy achieve full seizure control through medical treatment.
Medical treatment options for epilepsy
Anti-seizure medications can control seizures in about 60% to 70% of people with epilepsy. Anti-seizure medication treatment is individualized. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved more than 20 anti-seizure medications for treating epilepsy. Your healthcare provider may try one or more medications, doses of medications, or a combination of medications to find what works best to control your seizures.
Choice of an anti-seizure medication depends on:
- Seizure type.
- Your prior response to anti-seizure medications.
- Other medical conditions you have.
- The potential for interaction with other medications you take.
- Side effects of the anti-seizure drug (if any).
- Your age
- General health.
Because some anti-seizure medications are linked to birth defects, let your healthcare provider know if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
If anti-seizure medications don’t control your seizures, your healthcare provider will discuss other treatment options, including special diets, medical devices, or surgery.
The ketogenic diet and the modified Atkins diet — diets high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates — are the two most common diets sometimes recommended for people with epilepsy. These diets can be particularly effective for certain childhood epilepsy syndromes, as well as adult epilepsy patients for whom medication was not effective and who aren’t candidates for surgery. Low glycemic index diets may also reduce seizures in some people with epilepsy.