Epilepsy Home > Epilepsy Treatments
The goal of treatments for epilepsy is decreasing the number and severity of seizures while minimizing potential side effects. Many forms of treatment involve medications that manage the symptoms of the condition. In cases where medications do not adequately control seizures, surgery may be considered. One option that has shown some success in children is a strict diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates (known as a ketogenic diet).
Accurate diagnosis of the type of epilepsy a person has is crucial in finding an effective epilepsy treatment.
There are many different treatment options for epilepsy. Current methods can control seizures at least some of the time in about 80 percent of people with epilepsy. However, another 20 percent -- about 600,000 people with epilepsy in the United States -- have intractable seizures, and another 400,000 feel they get inadequate relief from available treatments. These statistics make it clear that improved treatments for epilepsy are desperately needed.
Once epilepsy is diagnosed, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Research suggests that medication and other options may be less successful once seizures and their consequences become established.
The goal of epilepsy treatment is to decrease the number and severity of seizures and minimize drug side effects.
For about 80 percent of those diagnosed with epilepsy, seizures can be controlled with medicines and/or surgery. Drugs best treat the symptoms of epilepsy, but they do not cure the disease.
Since 1990, a large number of new antiepileptic drugs have been approved, increasing the treatment options available. All of these medications, even the new ones, have some side effects because antiepileptic drugs act directly on the nervous system.
(Click Epilepsy Medication for more detailed information about specific drugs used for treating epilepsy.)