Medication can be used to control seizures and may even keep patients seizure free for long periods of time. There are more than 20 different medications available to treat epilepsy. Some can interact with other medications or have an effect on mood or body weight. These effects could be either unwanted or desirable depending on the situation. For example, some medications will treat other illnesses such as headaches, in addition to treating epilepsy. Your doctor will take all of these factors into consideration when they decide which combination of antiepileptic medication will produce the best overall results for you.
A doctor might choose a ketogenic diet for patients who respond poorly to medication. On the diet, patients eat foods rich in fats and oils, but low in proteins and carbohydrates. This creates a condition called ketosis in the body, which can help control seizures. However, achieving this reduction requires strict compliance with the diet.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
In this surgical procedure, an electrode is connected with a nerve in the neck called the vagus nerve and to a battery resembling a pacemaker. The device is implanted under the collarbone. To help prevent seizures, it sends a small, regular pulse of electrical energy to the brain via stimulation of the nerve.
Some patients with epilepsy whose seizures cannot be controlled by medications may be ideal candidates for neurosurgery. The decision to undergo surgery is based on each patient's personalized needs.