Even though there is no known cure for epilepsy, treatment options have improved dramatically over the years thanks to advancement in medical science. Patients can use anti-epileptic drugs, lifestyle changes, surgery and vagus nerve stimulator therapy to control the symptoms of the disease and live a relatively normal life. Let’s look at each of them:
Most cases of epilepsy can be controlled by anti-seizure medications. Your doctor will prescribe the best drug for you after examining your age, overall health, severity of your condition, tolerance to the side effects of the drug, and medical history. Examples of medicines used in treating epilepsy include Valium, Tegretol, Zarontine, Lyrica, Gabitril, Lamictal, Dilantin and Trileptal among others.
It is very important to note that these drugs can only work if you follow your doctor’s instruction. Some possible side effects of anti-epileptic drugs include mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, blurred vision, weight gain and headaches. To avoid such nasty effects, be sure to let your doctor know all the medications you are taking. These include supplements and herbal medicines.
This is a good option for epileptic people who do not respond very well to drugs. It entails identifying and removing the brain tissue where the seizures are coming from. When done successfully, surgery can help to prevent further seizures and enable patients live a normal and happy life.
However, not everyone is a good candidate for surgery. Your doctor will likely run a series of tests on you to determine if you qualify for surgery. If you do, he’ll talk to you about the possible outcomes to help you decide whether you want to go on with it or not.
Vagus Nerve Stimulator Therapy
Vagus nerve stimulator therapy is a treatment option for people who do not respond well to anti-seizure drugs and do not qualify for surgery either. Note that this technique doesn’t stop epilepsy completely, but decreases the number of seizures one experiences.
It entails implanting a device referred to as vagus nerve stimulator underneath the skin, specifically on the patient’s upper part of the chest. This device contains leads that produce electric pulses which stimulate the patient’s vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the nerve that conducts impulses between the brain and other parts of the body. Stimulating this nerve helps to reduce the brain’s potential to produce irregular seizures.
Factors such as stress, sleep deprivation, missed medication, much drinking, overheating and drug abuse (both prescription and recreational) can trigger epilepsy in some cases. Therefore, avoiding such triggers can go a long way in reducing your seizure frequency.
If you are an epileptic, don’t suffer in silence any longer because the condition is manageable nowadays. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you to help improve the quality of your life.