Epilepsy Medications

Medication is the first treatment option for epilepsy patients. Our adult and pediatric epileptologists are experts in all available antiepileptic medication options. Our team works closely with you to ensure you are prescribed the best medication to fit your epileptic needs. Approximately 70 percent of epileptic patients use medication to completely control their seizures.

Your medication will be determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Any additional medical conditions you have
  • Cost of medication
  • Gender
  • Possible side effects of medicine
  • Potential interaction with your other medications
  • Type of seizure and epilepsy

The remaining 30 percent of patients are unable to effectively control their seizures through two or more medications. These patients have refractory or intractable epilepsy. If you have refractory epilepsy, the experts at Penn State Epilepsy Center will work to find available clinical trials and regularly evaluate you for surgery or vagus nerve stimulation. If you have only experienced one seizure and your testing indicates a low likelihood of having a recurrence, you might not need medication. Your epileptologist will discuss this option with you after reviewing your test results and medical history.

Our comprehensive epilepsy program offers dietary therapies for all seizure patients. This program focuses on these two main diets to help patients control their seizures:

  • Ketogenic diet: a high-fat diet that focuses on high protein and low carbohydrates. Patients are introduced to the ketogenic diet during three to four days in the hospital.
  • Modified Atkins diet: similar to the Ketogenic Diet but less restrictive. It can also be introduced in an outpatient capacity.

Both the Ketogenic and Modified Atkins diets have been successful with patients, especially in children with refractory epilepsy who are not surgical candidates. Both diets have shown to reduce seizures in approximately half of the patients who qualified as appropriate candidates.