Is there a cure for epilepsy?

Jerome Engel, MD

Yes. The principal therapy for epilepsy is antiseizure (antiepileptic) drugs, which treat the symptoms (epileptic seizures) but do not cure the disease. Some genetic childhood epilepsy syndromes go away by themselves (remit) and are, therefore, self-curing. For other patients, there may be an underlying specific treatable cause of their epilepsy, such as a brain tumor, that can be treated and cured. For patients whose seizures are completely controlled by antiseizure medications and there are no unacceptable side effects, there is no need to consider a cure. But for those who continue to have disabling seizures despite two trials of appropriate antiseizure drugs (drug refractory epilepsy), referral to a specialized epilepsy center is recommended because many of these patients can be treated with surgical procedures that have a high likelihood of curing their epilepsy. Early referral for these patients provides the best opportunity to avoid a lifetime of disability. For the rest, other treatment options are available at epilepsy centers that might control seizures but are not curative.

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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.