While medications cannot yet cure epilepsy, they are still the most common first line of treatment for controlling seizures. There are many different kinds of medications currently used to treat epilepsy. The choice of which medication to try will depend on your child’s age, type of epilepsy/seizures and health history.
How do they work?
Medications control seizures by calming the brain down and making it less likely to have abnormal electrical activity that results in a seizure.
It’s very important that your child takes their medications as prescribed. Missed doses or abruptly stopping a medication can cause an increased risk of seizures.
All medications carry risks for side effects. Together, we’ll work to find the medication that provides the best seizure control with the fewest side effects.
The most common side effect is increased sleepiness during the first week or two of starting a new medication. This usually improves after your child’s body adjusts to the new medication.
Children’s Mercy participates in ongoing clinical trials and research studies involving new medications for epilepsy and seizure disorders. Research helps us improve care for children with epilepsy today and in the future. Talk with your child’s doctor about whether one of these trials might be a good fit for your family.
When medications aren’t effective
About one out of every three children with epilepsy will have intractable or refractory epilepsy, meaning their seizures are not well controlled with medication alone.
Children’s Mercy offers a number of additional treatment options for these kids, including dietary management, neurostimulation, and epilepsy surgery. These may be used in place of or in combination with medications, depending on the situation.