Epilepsy Treatment: Medication, Surgery, Diet, and More

When seizures are determined to be caused by epilepsy, the first line of treatment is usually medication. There are more than 20 different anti-seizure medicines available. Some may work better for certain types of seizures than for others, and all have side effects. (1,2)

The goal is to strike a balance between the upside of fewer seizures — and better quality of life — and the downside of bothersome medication side effects.

If medication proves ineffective at controlling seizures, other treatments may be required, such as epilepsy surgery, dietary changes, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy, or responsive neurostimulation. (3)

But before you stop taking an anti-seizure medication for any reason — including continued seizures, unacceptable side effects, or any other reason — talk to your doctor about stopping the drug or changing therapies. Don’t stop an anti-seizure drug on your own.

Normally, anti-seizure drugs are tapered — taken in progressively smaller doses — before they are stopped entirely. Abruptly stopping a medication raises the risk of withdrawal seizures.

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