Your neurology team at the Epilepsy Center, along with your primary care doctor, will design a treatment plan tailored to your condition and individual needs. You may require more than one kind of treatment — such as medication and surgery — and may be referred to or other medical professionals.
Most seizures can be prevented with medication. The type of medication prescribed for you will depend on your condition. Your neurologist will explain how to take your medication and what side effects might occur. Over time, your medication may be changed to find the right drug and dose. Be sure to take your medication as directed. Call your neurologist if you have questions or have any unexpected side effects.
For some patients, surgery may be recommended to prevent seizures or to implant devices that deliver medications or stimulators to emit electrical impulses. Your neurologist will explain the procedure as well as possible risks.
These procedures include:
If a seizure occurs between doses of current, a magnet can be passed over the device to trigger an additional dose. If you have a vagus nerve stimulator implanted, you'll continue to take medication but sometimes can reduce the amount or number of medications. This procedure can treat a wide variety of seizure disorders when other surgical procedures aren't an option.
Most medical treatments can involve some risks or complications. Your neurologist will explain any possible risks or complications from the treatments you'll receive. Don't be afraid to ask your doctors, nurses or therapists about your treatment. If your treatment includes medication, be sure to take it exactly as the doctor has ordered. And remember to keep all your follow-up appointments with our doctors and other medical staff.
Prevention and follow-up
To help cope with epilepsy and reduce your chance of injury from seizures, we recommend these guidelines:
Carry identification, including a bracelet, card or necklace that shows you have epilepsy. In an emergency, this information can ensure that you receive the right care.
Explain to your family, friends and co-workers how to care for you if you have a seizure.
Follow your state regulations about driving motor vehicles.
If you are having regular or even occasional seizures, avoid dangerous situations at work and during leisure activities. For example, do not work in high places, on ladders or scaffolding, or near sharp or moving objects. Be careful when you play sports. Don't swim or go mountain climbing by yourself.
Don't stop taking your seizure medication or change the amount you take unless you discuss this with your doctor.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you take other medications in addition to your seizure drugs.
If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant and you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, talk to your neurologist as soon as possible. You may need to take vitamin supplements to protect your baby.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.