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Epilepsy and Seizures

TreatmentMedication And Side Effects

Many different antiseizure drugs are available. Various things will help your doctor determine which medication to prescribe. These include the following:

  • Your age
  • Any drug allergies you might have
  • The type of seizures you have had
  • The side effects of the drug
  • The cost of the drug

Side effects can be mild or severe. If you notice side effects from your medication, it is important to write down what you are experiencing and discuss it with your doctor. Some common side effects are increased appetite, irritability, nausea, drowsiness, hyperactivity, and difficulty remembering things. Changing the dose of an antiseizure drug or switching to another type of drug will often eliminate side effects. Before changing your medication, your doctor will check your blood levels and ask you about any seizures you have had while on the medication.

Some of the behavioral side effects of antiseizure medication can make it hard to tell the difference between normal teenage behavior and a side effect of medication. Many teens, for example, are frequently sleepy because their growing bodies need more sleep than their busy lives allow them to get. However, lack of sleep can be dangerous for a teenager with epilepsy because it can cause seizures.

In most cases, epilepsy does not need to be treated forever. Doctors cannot predict who will continue to have seizures and who will not. Some people simply outgrow their epilepsy. If a patient with epilepsy has not had a seizure for two years, the doctor may gradually stop the antiseizure medication. Use of antiseizure drugs must be tapered off slowly and not stopped abruptly or else a seizure may occur. Never stop taking your medication on your own. Your doctor may slowly take you off medication during the summer so that there is no risk that you will have a seizure at school.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaEpilepsyEpilepsy and Seizures - Treatment - Medication And Side Effects, Other Treatments