Amor Mehta, MD runs one of the best epilepsy centers in New Jersey. Epilepsy is one of the most difficult conditions to treat, and most physicians will simply aim to control or manage it. However, there are certain treatments you will commonly find recommended by doctors which include the following:
The foremost treatment of epilepsy recommended by doctors is medication. Most epilepsy patients can become seizure-free by taking anti-seizure medication.
The most common form of medication is a one-time, anti-seizure, or anti-epileptic medication. However, a combination of medication can be used to decrease the severity and frequency of seizures in an epileptic patient.
Children with epilepsy who are not showcasing any symptoms can discontinue their medication and still live seizure-free. Adults who do not have seizures for two or more years can also discontinue their medication. However, the doctor is the ultimate authority for when you should stop taking your medication.
Treating epilepsy using medication is an intricate job as the doctor needs to find the right dosage for your condition based on factors such as your age, frequency, and severity of your seizures. The medication will also have to be compatible with other medications you are taking.
Anti-epileptic medication may result in side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, speech, and memory problems. More serious side effects may include depression and inflammation of particular organs like your liver.
When medicines fail to take effect or there is not a good dosage to be prescribed for your condition, the doctor may resort to surgery to treat your epilepsy. When surgery is used for epilepsy, it usually involves removing the portion of your brain responsible for causing epilepsy.
Surgeries for epilepsy are usually performed when tests show that your seizures originate from a specific part of your brain. Other cognitive functions such as vision and hearing should not pose the possibility to be affected by the surgery in order for it to be performed.
A majority of people still continue to take anti-seizure medications after their surgery, albeit in small doses. Surgery may also result in side effects, most important being alterations in some cognitive abilities like speech and motor function. However, surgery will depend on the proficiency and subsequent success rate of the surgeon.
Certain therapies can also be used as a treatment for epilepsy, including the following:
• Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Vagus nerve stimulation involves implantation of an electrical device underneath the skin called a stimulator. The stimulator is then connected to the vagus nerve. The stimulator sends electrical energy pulses to your brain via the vagus nerve and inhibits seizures. Research shows that it can decrease seizures by up to 40%.
• Ketogenic Diet: The ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce seizures in some children. A ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fats and low in carbohydrates. Adhering to a ketogenic diet can be very difficult. Side effects include dehydration and constipation.
• Electrical Brain Stimulation: In deep brain stimulation, an electoral device is implanted into your brain and electrical impulses are sent to your brain to reduce seizure frequency and severity.