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Treating Epilepsy

Children with epilepsy will need treatment if the seizures are frequent or disabling. Your child may need either one of the following:

  • Medications for epilepsy
  • Surgery
  • Alternative treatments

Medications for epilepsy

Medications are effective in treating most children with epilepsy. These need to be taken daily until the children outgrow their seizures.

Medications prescribed in Malaysia are Sodium Valproate (Epilim), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Clonazepam (Rivotril), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Topiramate (Topamax) and Levetiracetam (Keppra).

Common side effects of these medications include sedation, allergic rashes, insomnia, behavioural change, weight loss or weight gain. Consult your doctor for information on these medications.

If the seizures remain difficult, poorly controlled despite the above treatments, then the child may be referred to a paediatric neurologist. The following may be other possible treatment options:

Surgery

A small group of children with difficult epilepsy will require brain surgery. Consult your doctor for more information on this topic.

Alternative treatments

  • The ketogenic diet – This novel fat-based diet can be effective to control seizures in some children with difficult epilepsy. Though containing large amounts of fat and little carbohydrate, there is enough protein to ensure that the child grows normally and remains healthy. For younger children, this diet can be carried out through taking specially prepared formula that can be commercially available. However this diet is generally difficult to keep, and may not work for all patients.
  • A vagal nerve stimulator – This is an electronic device connected to a wire placed into the vagal nerve in the neck. It works by stimulating the vagal nerve continually in an attempt to inhibit excessive electrical brain activity and thus reduce the likelihood to have seizures. The device is expensive, and may not work for all patients, and is yet to be widely available locally.
Last reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Irene Cheah Guat Sim
  : Dr. Terrance Thomas
  : Dr. Umathevi Paramasivam
Reviewer : D. Nor Azni b. Yahaya