Treatment management

Managing your epilepsy treatment can involve medication and seizure management, as well as managing changes to your social, physical, and emotional well-being. By being proactive and tracking your seizures, medications, and side effects, your health care team will be better able to assess your progress, alter your treatment plan, and assist you as needed.

  • How can I manage my epilepsy?

    The more you take control, the better you can manage your epilepsy. Following doctors’ orders and taking medication as it is prescribed is essential. Here are some tips:

    • Understand your epilepsy, including your seizure type.

    • Don’t stop taking your medication unless your doctor says to do so. Even if you feel that your seizures have stopped, remember that any changes in medication must come from your doctor.

    • If you miss a dose, consult your doctor. Medications must be taken at regular intervals; don’t try to make up for a missed dose by taking it when you remember or doubling up the next time.

    • Keep track of your seizures, or have a family member chart them so you will know if they are increasing, and tell your doctor about any changes. To make tracking your seizures easier, try using our Seizure Tracking Diary.

    • Take your epilepsy medication regularly. If you have difficulty remembering, your pharmacy may carry special containers that you can fill with your pills for the week to help you keep track.

    Keep following up with your neurologist. If you are still having seizures or are having difficulty with side effects, you may need a change in your epilepsy medicine or dose.

    Remember that your doctor is your best resource for information about your therapies and medications.

  • Dissatisfaction with therapy

    If you find that you continue to experience seizures while taking your medication(s), you should ask the following questions.

  • Switching or adding therapies

    If you or your loved one are not achieving seizure control with current medication(s), it is not unusual for a neurologist or epileptologist to make a change. Being nervous is natural – one of the biggest fears being that stopping one epilepsy medication and starting another will lead to more seizures if the new medication doesn’t work. Neurologists help guide their patients through the process.

  • The four C’s of pharmacy visits

    One way to stick to the treatment plan you and your doctor agreed to is to check your prescription every time you pick it up at the pharmacy.

    Think of the following “Four C’s” to help you stay on track, because staying on track with a medication that is working is important to managing your seizures.

    The “Four C’s” of pharmacy visits:

    1. Compare the new pill bottle label with the label on your last prescription.
    2. Check that the pills look exactly the same (size, shape, colour, and imprint).
    3. Confirm with the pharmacist, if anything looks different, that he or she is aware of any change and has discussed it with your doctor.
    4. Contact your doctor (or have your pharmacist call to confirm) if your doctor did not tell you about a change to your prescription.

  • Remembering to take your meds

    Taking your medications properly is very important in treating your epilepsy. It is important not to skip doses and to establish a schedule you can remember and stick with. A few tips for sticking with your epilepsy medication schedule are:

    Fill a pill box with a week’s epilepsy medication. If, at the end of the week, you have leftover pills, you know you missed a few doses and can correct that pattern. Keep the pill box out of children’s reach.

    Leave yourself notes. Write reminders in your day planner or put sticky notes on your refrigerator or medicine cabinet – anywhere you will see them.

    Program electronic alerts. Program your digital watch, cell phone, or e-mail program to alert you to take your epilepsy medication.

    Make an entry into your seizure diary every time you take your medication. You can download our Seizure Tracking Diary, to make tracking your seizures easier.

    Medication schedule worksheets (as well as seizure logging forms) are available at www.seizuretracker.com.

  • Making the most of your appointments

    The more you take control, the better you can manage your epilepsy. Managing epilepsy is best handled by taking a team approach between doctors and patients. The team may include your family doctor, neurologist or epileptologist, neurosurgeon, nurse, psychologist, social worker, and members of your family. Since you know yourself better than anyone, your input is vital.

    • Plan in advance for your doctor appointments; list questions ahead of time as you think of them, and have them ready to ask at the appointment.
    • Keep track of your seizures, or have a family member chart them so you will know if they are increasing, and tell your doctor about any changes.
    • During office visits, write down specific details, such as medication changes, to ensure you’ll remember them later (or bring a family member with you to take notes).
    • Fill out a medical history and seizure diary and bring it with you to doctor appointments.
    • Discuss your feelings and personal issues with your health care professionals as this information often has an impact on their choice of treatment.
    • Keep following up with your neurologist, since they are the best person to share this information with. If you are still having seizures or are having difficulty with side effects, you may need a change in your epilepsy medicine or dose.
    • Remember that your doctor is your best resource for information about your therapies and medications.

  • Communicating with your specialist

    Good communication with your neurologist or epileptologist is important in the goal of achieving seizure freedom and living a full life.

    We want to help you get the conversation started and help you take an active role. Because there are many epilepsy treatments to choose from, your neurologist or epileptologist needs as much information as possible to recommend the best treatment options. Working together to identify side effects and diagnose seizure types and patterns could make a significant difference in your quality of life.

    You can download our HCP Discussion Guide and use the information as a guide for your conversations with your neurologist or epileptologist. Asking the right questions and tracking important information about your condition can help your neurologist recommend the best treatment available.

    Click here to download the HCP Discussion Guide

    Also check out the Communicating with your HCP section for additional information and tips.

  • Why should I keep an epilepsy diary?

    Keeping a daily seizure diary is one way to make living with epilepsy easier. By tracking your seizure activity and epilepsy medication routine, you can help provide valuable information to your neurologist or epileptologist. You need to assess your quality of life and tell your health care team how you are functioning and feeling. For example, are you able to perform your day-to-day activities? A seizure diary is a great way to track your progress as it relates to seizure activity and any side effects you may be experiencing.