You have several options to get treatment after you have been diagnosed with epilepsy. A medicine, a special diet, an implant that operates on your nerves or brain, or surgery can all help you feel better.
The doctor will probably want you to try this first. This helps for epilepsy for about 7 out of 10 people Drugs for epilepsy, also referred to as anti-seizure or anticonvulsant drugs, change the way the brain cells function and send messages.
Your doctor suggests the type of medication depends on a few things:
- The type of seizures you have
- How likely it is you’ll have more seizures
- Your age
- Your sex
- Other medical conditions you have
- If you want to get pregnant
Drugs that work for someone else may not work for someone else. You may need to try more than one. In the first or second try, most people who take epilepsy medication find a good fit.
You may need to start with a low dose and add more gradually. This depends on the medication you are taking.
Before you start your medication, you will probably get a blood test. The doctor will want you to have blood tests while you are taking it to see how your body handles the treatment.
How often you need them depends on your type of medication for epilepsy, other medicines you are taking, and any health conditions you may have.
Tell your doctor about other drugs and supplements you are taking, even if you buy them (without a prescription). Seizure medicines can interact with other medicines and also cause them not to work.
Some are worse than others. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your drug. Based on the medication you take, there may be side effects:
- Weight gain
- Thinning bones
- Trouble talking
- Trouble remembering things
- Trouble thinking
- Mood changes
- Weight loss
More serious side effects can be:
- Severe rash
- Inflammation in organs like your liver
If you have suicidal thoughts, call your doctor immediately. Do not quit taking the medication on your own or miss a dose without first speaking to your doctor if you have any questions about the side effects of your prescription.
How to Get Off Your Medication
Some people can stop their medication for seizure. This should only be done with the advice and assistance of your doctor.
If in at least 2 to 4 years you have had no seizures, your doctor may help you stop your medication slowly.
Some types of seizures occur only in kids and younger adolescents. If you are an older adult or young adult, your doctor may think that stopping your medication is safe for you.
This diet has high fat and low carbohydrate content. Depending on the type of seizures you have, your doctor may suggest it. But you shouldn’t try to do it yourself. Talk to your doctor and a nutritionist.
A ketogenic diet is typically given to children if their seizures have not been cured by medication, but some studies show that it can function for adults as well.
At first, it may make you feel sluggish. Later side effects may include:
- Kidney stones
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Broken bones
There are two types of stimulation of the nerve:
Stimulation of the vagus nerve. This nerve runs through your neck and down to the lower part of your brain from your chest and abdomen. It controls things like your breathing that are programmed in your body.
Your doctor will put a small tool under your chest’s skin called a vagus nerve stimulator and attach it to the nerve.
The machine sends a tiny amount of electricity to your brain through the nerve. You may still need to take medication. During your appointments, this machine can be calibrated by a neurologist to find the settings that work for you. For everyone, it doesn’t work.
The treatment involves a tiny device called a neurostimulator is surgically inserted. Your doctor will place it under the bones of your skull. This searches for patterns that can lead to a seizure in your brain activity. When one of these patterns is seen by the neurostimulator, it sends out a little pulse to disrupt it. Not every person can have this machine, it depends on the type of epilepsy.
There are two main types of surgery:
The doctor must remove the portion that triggers the seizures in your brain. Most often, this surgery is done when the part of the brain which triggers the seizures is very small, has very good boundaries and does not control things like your speech motion, vision, or hearing.
The surgeon will cut the paths between the nerves in your brain that are involved in your seizures rather than removing part of your brain.