Treatment for Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy Information 2012

Treatment for Epileptic Seizures

While most epilepsy cases are in themselves benign, the treatment of epileptic seizures is an important consideration in medical science owing to the way seizures can significant affect a patient’s quality of life. If left untreated, seizures may come at inopportune times causing harm and humiliation to a patient; addressing this requires a targeted treatment plan that seeks to eliminate the underlying causes of epileptic seizures in order to give the patient the best chance at living normal life.

For this, there are many options for treatment of epileptic seizures.

Medication. There are many FDA-approved drugs used for treating epileptic seizures. The old generation of drugs includes Dilantin, Mysoline, Tegretol, and even Valium while newer varieties include Lyrica, Trileptal, Zonegran and Felbatol among others. The wide selection of possible medications is crucial because patients respond to drugs differently and this allows doctors to do trial-and-error to determine the most effective drug combination in the right dosages. According to current medical data, drug therapies are able to eliminate seizures in about 70% of epileptic cases, easily the highest success rate out of the many options in the treatment for epileptic seizures.

Surgery. When treating epileptic seizures, surgery is only being considered when drug therapies prove ineffective and if there are known structural abnormalities in the brain that can be remedied by surgical operation. Using this stringent set of requirements, only a few causes of epilepsy eventually resort to surgery. Current medical data suggests that of the remaining 30% of cases that are irresponsive to drug treatment, about one-third consider surgery. In the US, there are about 3,000 epileptic surgeries performed annually.

Ketogenic diet. Many consider this as an alternative treatment plan for addressing epileptic seizures and the method is only typically employed for younger patients. A ketogenic diet works by reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake for a patient, substituting it instead with protein. The high protein content stimulates the production of ketones which help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures when present in the brain. The procedure is less likely to work for adult patients as it requires a very rigid diet that is hard to follow and can be a nuisance to an adult’s daily lifestyle.

Nerve stimulation. This is a new and novel treatment for epileptic seizures and is yet to become mainstream in many medical circles. The treatment plan relies implantation of a small stimulator the size of a silver dollar in the chest and this stimulates the vagus nerve. Current data shows that cases that are not responsive to drug therapies are more likely to benefit from nerve stimulation therapy and results have already documented a reduction for up to 50% in seizure frequency for those who use this procedure. The method still requires work but it is a promising opportunity for cases where drug therapies are found to be less effective.

The many types of treatment for epileptic seizures are known to effectively address seizure frequency in a majority of cases. With it, patients can already begin to hope for a normal life. The important thing to remember is to follow through the treatment plan to ensure that a specific and targeted treatment method is developed. With this, patients can be confident that their specific case can be addressed with relatively accessible treatment options. One may need to persevere but the rewards are well worth the effort.