Knowing what to do when your child has a seizure and making sure your child gets the best treatment possible are among the most important things you can do for your child. There are many different kinds of treatments for epilepsy. Doctors usually recommend that children try medication first. They often need to try a few different antiepileptic (seizure-preventing) drugs before the right one is found. If medication doesn't work or causes very difficult side effects, other treatments that they might try include surgery, the ketogenic diet or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Some people have also found success using herbs, vitamins and other complementary therapies along with medical treatment options, but you should always check with your doctor first before trying these.
Parents and doctors should work together to not only find the best treatment, but to keep checking to make sure it continues to be the best option. New treatments are continually being developed. If, even with treatment, your child is having seizures or troubling side effects, you should speak to an epilepsy specialist to see if there are other options that you can try. It's important to be an active partner in your child's care.
Questions to Ask
- What should I do when my child has a seizure?
- What side effects are common with this medicine?
- Do you recommend the ketogenic diet for my child?
- Is surgery an option?
- Would I do better on a higher dose of just one medicine? Is there a different medicine I could try?
- Are there any new drugs for epilepsy that might work for me?
- Should I have a blood level test to see if the dose I am taking is at the right level in my blood?
- Should I see a neurologist or go to a special center for more testing?