The first step in the treatment of epilepsy involves making a correct diagnosis. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history, including what you have been experiencing. You may not be aware of what your seizure looks like, so a report from an eyewitness may help here. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and order further diagnostic testing.
Epilepsy may be treated with anticonvulsant drugs (anti-epileptics or AED’s), a therapeutic diet, hormonal treatment, a surgical implant, surgery, or with alternate therapies. The most common form of treatment is drug therapy. Different types of anti-convulsant drugs are used to treat different types of seizures. An individual with epilepsy is usually prescribed one drug for seizure control. If there are different types of seizures present, it may be necessary to take more than one drug. Reaction to anti-convulsants may vary among individuals and it may take time to find the correct drug at the correct dose. It is a process of trial and error. As such, it may be some time before you find the correct drug and dose.
An anti-convulsant must reach a certain level in the bloodstream before it is effective in controlling seizures. The level must be maintained by taking the medication in the prescribed amounts and at the prescribed times. The amount of the drug given should be enough to prevent seizures, without drowsiness or other side effects. Once drug therapy begins, drug levels and side effects may be monitored through regular blood testing and through review of seizure records.
Anti-convulsants do not cure epilepsy, but are usually able to control an individual’s seizures, allowing those with epilepsy to lead full lives with few restrictions.