When it comes to treating epilepsy there are various treatments available.
When a person is first diagnosed with epilepsy, they are usually given medications called anti-epileptic drugs or (AEDs), these aim to reduce seizures.
Many AEDs can have side effects and sadly not every medication will be an instant success.
For many, it’s a case of trial and error. It can be normal for people to try several medications before they find one that works for them, and for lots of people, they can even take several different medications at the same time.
Your body can also take a little while to adjust to these new medications. Strong side effects may be temporary, so if you’re trying new medicine and your neurologist wants you to continue with it a little longer, don’t be upset as the side effects may soon subside.
If you have tried loads of medications and haven’t come across one that has helped yet, don’t lose hope. There is always the possibility that one in the future will work perfectly for you.
- Try to take your medication at regular intervals, E.G. If you take them twice a day, try spacing them 12hrs apart, and use an alarm to remind you. Originally I would take my medication whenever I remembered, and it wasn’t a successful tactic.
- Withdrawing from medication – If you decide that you no longer want to take your medication, always consult your doctor and you will be slowly taken off your tablets. If you suddenly stop taking your medication, you could become very unwell.
- If you decide to take a new herbal remedy consider consulting with a healthcare professional or pharmacist. Many remedies can interact with medications and epilepsy. For example, St. John’s Wort is not recommended for people with epilepsy as it interacts with medications.
Anti-epileptic drugs are normally the first form of treatment for epilepsy, but they are not the only form of treatment for epilepsy. If you find that your seizures are difficult to manage, there are other treatments such as:
Ketogenic Diet – Which is a high fat low carbohydrate diet, to help control epilepsy. This diet is mainly used for children, but some adults may benefit from it. If you are considering the ketogenic diet it’s recommended that you to speak to your doctor and dietician for advice and supervision.
VNS – Vagus Nerve Stimulation is an implanted device which is similar to a pacemaker; it sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve (the nerve between the neck at the brain) at regular intervals. The number of impulses can be increased by sweeping a magnet across the VNS generator, preventing or stopping a seizure. Want to know more? Learn more here
DBS – Deep Brain Stimulation, is an implanted medical device that sends electrical impulses to the brain. This is a fairly new epilepsy treatment, it was originally used for conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease. It aims to reduce excess electrical activity in the brain and It may be offered to people who cannot have brain surgery. Its effectiveness for epilepsy is still being researched. You and read more about DBS, here.
Brain Surgery involves being referred to a specialist brain surgery clinic. The overall aim of brain surgery is naturally to reduce to stop seizures but to also consider the patients quality of life. Brian surgery, is frequently carried out to people who have head traumas or tumours is which affected or caused their epilepsy, but brain surgery can be offered to many people, and is becoming increasing popular in helping control people’s seizures. If you want to know more about brain surgery, you can learn more here.
These are the main types of treatments that a neurologist might suggest to help control someones epilepsy.
In the UK, 7 in 10 could be seizure free with the right treatment, 5 in 10 currently are.
Hope it’s been helpful! If you have any questions or comments feel free to let me know!
Thanks for reading!