Epilepsy Treatment

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. Epilepsy surgery is a safe and effective treatment option. It is important to be evaluated first to see if you are a candidate for epilepsy surgery if medications do not control your seizures.” 

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 will work with you to determine the best doses and combinations of medicine to best to control your seizures.

The 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
  • Cost

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.

Surgical Treatment for Epilepsy

Surgery can be a safe and effective treatment option when several anti-seizure medication trials fail to control seizures. 

Ketogenic diet

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.