Epilepsy treatment varies depending on the severity of a patient’s seizures, the cause of epilepsy, age and a number of other factors.
Surgery is an alternative for patients whose seizures cannot be controlled by medications. In pediatric epilepsy, surgery may be required to avoid destruction to cognitive development, mental and psychological health.
Prior to surgery, a prospective patient undergoes a thorough evaluation consisting of complete physical and neurological examination and an assemblage of studies to assess if a patient will ultimately benefit from epilepsy surgery.
At ANA, our team collaborates on cases to define the best epilepsy treatment path for each patient.
There are several non-surgical methods traditionally used for the treatment of epilepsy.
At least half of those newly diagnosed with epilepsy will become seizure-free with their first medication—if they take it regularly and as prescribed. The efficacy of these medications of course depends on the type and severity of the epilepsy. In some cases, medication may diminish but not completely control all seizure activity.
Many various types of anticonvulsant (also called antiepileptic) drugs are available. Some patients respond to one drug and some may need more than one. It may take several months before the best drug and dosage are determined. Patients are monitored throughout the medication process via blood tests.
A ketogenic diet, one which supplies the majority of calories from fat as opposed to glucose, mimics the body’s response to starvation by burning fat for energy. Scientists are not precisely sure why this diet prevents seizures, although it is being studied. Estimates vary from 10-30% of children who try it become seizure free, or almost seizure free. And over half who try it gain a 50% reduction in seizures. The remainder do not respond or are unable to tolerate the diet because of side effects.
Read related articles by ANA:
- Epilepsy Surgery May Ease Pediatric Patients Psychological Burden