In most cases epilepsy is treated with medication. Over the past decades new drugs for epilepsy have become available which allow many people with epilepsy to live virtually seizure-free lives. However, many drugs are likely to be most effective in controlling only certain types of epilepsy. Treatment decisions start with knowing the kind of epilepsy the person has. Your doctor will choose a medication best suited to your type of epilepsy.
Most people with epilepsy can look forward to becoming free of seizures. With anti-epileptic drug treatment, up to 70% of people with epilepsy will not have seizures while taking medication. A small number benefit from epilepsy surgery which, in some cases, can manage the condition completely. However, for up to 30% of people with epilepsy, seizures are difficult to control despite treatment. Seizures by their nature can pose risks to safety. The best way to lower your safety risk is to get the best control possible of your seizures. Getting a diagnosis of epilepsy is the first step. Working with your medical team to find the right treatment for you is the next stage. Regular follow-up with your medical team is important too.
Information is key
Anti-epileptic drug treatment is still the way most people are treated. For the right drug to be given at the right dose, the medical team will need to have good information about your seizures. They need to know what happens during a seizure, how many seizures you have had and how often you have them. If you haven’t seen a consultant neurologist and you continue to have seizures, ask your GP to refer you to an epilepsy specialist for a review of your treatment options.
A common reason why some people continue to have seizures is because they may not take their medication exactly as prescribed. Sometimes side effects of a particular medication may be hard to cope with. Epilepsy specialists can explain if other treatment options are more suitable for you if you are finding it hard to take the medication, or if you find it hard to deal with side effects. It is important to get the best seizure control you can. While seizures continue the level of risk to the person increases.
This section will give an overview of treatment and what approach may help reduce your seizures
Our guide to Epilepsy Treatment has comprehensive information on many aspects of epilepsy treatment. The booklet is available for download at the bottom of this page.