Treatment

There are various options available for the treatment of epilepsy. Based on your individual condition, your epileptologist or neurologist will be able to recommend the best treatment options available for you. The major form of treatment is long-term drug therapy with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). However, if someone has tried two or more AEDs and shown no improvement, they may be considered for brain surgery.

  • Can epilepsy be treated with drugs?

    While medications are not a cure, treatments are available that can control or stop seizures for most individuals with epilepsy. Your seizure type will be considered when selecting your treatment – you may be prescribed a monotherapy (the use of one medication) or polytherapy (the use of multiple medications) treatment plan. It may require some trial and error to find your optimum medication(s) and dose. Most of these medications are taken by mouth.
    Should you experience any side effects when taking your medication(s), discuss them with your physician. They may alter your dosage or medication(s) to make your treatment more effective.

  • Reading your prescription bottle

    Staying on track with medication means staying informed. Here's how to read your prescription bottle and make sure what's inside matches the treatment you and your doctor have agreed to.

  • What is adjunct therapy?

    The aim of epilepsy treatment is to control seizures with one medication – but in some people, that cannot be done. Adjunct therapy (or “add-on treatment”) is when one epilepsy treatment or medication is combined with another medication. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment in a kind of tag-team approach to epilepsy treatment.

  • How long will I have to take medication?

    Each person with epilepsy is different. Some children may outgrow their epilepsy and will no longer need medication. Others will require lifelong epilepsy medication to control their seizures. It’s important to work with your neurologist or epileptologist to determine what’s best for you. Your doctor is your best resource with whom to discuss your therapies and medications.

  • Who is a candidate for surgery?

    Surgical removal of seizure-producing areas of the brain is an alternative for some people whose seizures cannot be controlled by epilepsy medications. It can be performed on both children and adults.

  • What epilepsy research is being done?

    Scientists continue to develop new and better epilepsy medications and to study how neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry impulses from one nerve cell to another) interact with brain cells to control nerve firing and how cells in the brain contribute to epileptic seizures.

    Researchers are also working to identify genes that may influence epilepsy. This information could potentially allow doctors to prevent epilepsy or to predict which treatments will be most beneficial. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other brain scans are also being improved for even better, more accurate epilepsy diagnosis.

    You can discover more information about current epilepsy research on the following websites:

    Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE Epilepsy)
    https://www.cureepilepsy.org

    Epilepsy Foundation
    https://www.epilepsy.com/accelerating-new-therapies/our-research-program