What Do I Need To Know About Epilepsy Treatments?

The primary goal of epilepsy treatment is to eliminate seizures without creating side effects from medicines or other therapies. Treatments for epilepsy are different from person to person. Your treatment plan depends on the type of seizures that you have, and whether or not you have an epilepsy syndrome. Other factors are also considered, such as your age, general health, past medical history, as well as personal preferences. Discussing your options with your healthcare provider is important to know which treatment plan is best for you.

Seizure medications are the most common treatment for epilepsy. The first one or two medications tried can usually provide good seizure control for most people. Sometimes, people may need to try one or more types of medication, different doses, or even combinations of several medications at the same time. It is important to work closely with your healthcare provider during this process to get the best results.

What if medication isn’t working?

There are other treatment options for epilepsy if medication does not provide enough seizure control, or if the side effects of medication are too uncomfortable:

  • Dietary therapy – certain types of diets may help control or prevent seizures. An example is the ketogenic diet. Dietary therapy can sometimes be used alone, but is more often used in combination with seizure medication.
  • Vagus nerve therapy – a device can be safely implanted in the chest with a wire that runs up the vagus nerve in the neck. This device sends regular, mild electrical signals to the brain and acts as a “pacemaker” to prevent the electrical storms that occur in the brain during a seizure
  • Epilepsy surgery – some people have seizures that start in one area of the brain that can be safely removed to help control or even cure epilepsy

Working closely with knowledgeable healthcare providers is important with all treatments used for epilepsy.