How is epilepsy (seizure disorder) treated?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Treatment options for seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy, include medication (in most cases), surgery (in some cases) and other less commonly used treatment strategies, such as implanted devices and dietary changes. About 80 percent of people with epilepsy are able to control their seizures with the kinds of treatment that are currently available. Most people with epilepsy are treated with antiepileptic drugs, and over 20 different kinds are available. Some people with epilepsy do not find sufficient relief with antiepileptic drugs. However, some types of epilepsy can be treated surgically if medication does not work. For example, in some cases a surgeon might be able to remove the small part of the brain that is affected by the seizures or might sever the connections between the malfunctioning brain nerve cells (neurons). Another option for some people with epilepsy is to have a device called a vagus nerve stimulator surgically implanted in the chest. This device delivers electrical impulses to the brain through a nerve in the neck. Some people with epilepsy, particularly children, have been found to benefit from a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

Since seizures come in many variations, there is't a single pill or set dosage that can control them.

Patients may have to try many different drugs to find a combination that provides seizure control while preserving their quality of life. Many medications are considered to be disabling because they can affect cognitive processes, including thought and memory.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.