Our goal is always to find the most tolerable epilepsy treatment with the best results and fewest side effects.
The good news is that medication, usually the first treatment option we try, can effectively control seizures for up to 70% of patients.
We’ll recommend a particular medication based on your type of seizures, other medical conditions, age, cost and other individual factors.
If you have bothersome side effects, we can always adjust dosage levels or try a different prescription.
We never discount the potential impact of lifestyle changes on seizure reduction or elimination. To help you create a plan, we’ll first encourage you to keep a “seizure diary” to identify new triggers you may not have realized and to see how lifestyle changes affect you.
If you haven’t yet adopted a low-carb diet, such as modified Atkins or ketogenic diets – both of which have proven useful in reducing seizures, our nutritionists and dietitians can work with you to develop meal plans that suit your lifestyle. Before making any dietary changes, confirm with your doctor that a change in eating habits is appropriate for your type of epilepsy.
Equally important, you should:
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up the same time each day.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Begin an exercise program with your doctor’s input.
- Confirm with your doctor if it’s safe for you to drive, swim or do other activities that would be dangerous with unexpected seizures.
Epilepsy surgery and neurostimulation therapy
If your epilepsy hasn’t responded well to medication or lifestyle changes, then your epilepsy provider will want to do further evaluation to determine if you’re a good candidate for surgery or deep brain neurostimulation. This testing may include an EEG, MRI, PET scan and neuropsychology testing.
At the Ohio State Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we offer standard surgeries, such as temporal lobectomy, lesionectomy and corpus callosotomy, as well as minimally invasive epilepsy surgery options.
Read more about testing for and having epilepsy surgery at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
Our specialty clinics can manage epilepsy
Living with epilepsy can be a challenge. Our specialty clinics for people who have epilepsy can help you manage your seizures not only on a daily basis but also through some of life’s changes, whether that’s getting older, having a baby or dealing with other health issues.
At our clinics, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan and convenient access to all the services that are part of that plan.
- Epilepsy Pregnancy Clinic – If you have epilepsy and become pregnant, you’ll be referred to this program in which our epilepsy experts work closely with our maternal fetal medicine providers. Together, our two teams will monitor your anti-seizure medications on a monthly basis and counsel you during each trimester of pregnancy on what to expect. We spend a significant amount of time discussing postpartum safety, breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety and depression. A final visit will occur at three months postpartum and then your care will return to your epilepsy provider.
- Epilepsy Transition Clinic – If you’re a young person with epilepsy looking to transition your care from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, this clinic will help you in that journey. After your pediatric epileptologist assesses you as ready for this step, you’ll be referred to a provider at Ohio State. Both pediatric and adult epileptologists will be present at the clinic, which takes place at Nationwide Children’s, to ensure a smooth transition to the Wexner Medical Center.
- Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Event (PNEE) Clinic – People diagnosed with PNEE, or behavioral episodes that look like seizures, can get help at this clinic. We’ll review the diagnosis and establish appointments with a psychologist. Then, you’ll enroll in a six- to eight-week therapy process to help identify symptom triggers and learn both cognitive and behavioral strategies to decrease or eliminate spells. There’s also a monthly support group.
A referral may be required to be seen at these clinics. Talk to your doctor about how to get started.
Research and clinical trials
As an academic health center — which is a teaching hospital on a university campus — the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center can provide our patients valuable access to research studies and clinical trials. This may give you the ability to try promising treatments earlier.
If you have another condition in addition to epilepsy
Like any other health issue, epilepsy can occur with or cause other conditions.
Treating you for multiple conditions can be complicated, and we don’t want one treatment to negatively impact another. This is why Ohio State’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has a range of specialists – all with epilepsy treatment experience — who’ll work together to coordinate your care for the best possible health overall — including ongoing seizure control.
Examples of specific conditions that may impact treatment or frequently occur along with epilepsy include: