Seizures can arise from any disorder, event, or disease that damages the brain or stimulates unusual electrical activity. Seizures associated with a change in electrical activity in the brain are called epileptic seizures. Some seizures are not due to a change in electrical activity. This is a nonepileptic seizure, and can be caused by a temporary condition such as a high fever, low blood sugar, or meningitis.
For nonepileptic seizures, identifying and treating the underlying cause usually resolves the seizures. For recurrent seizures or epilepsy, medications are the most common treatment. The goal of treatment is to prevent or reduce the frequency of seizures.
Arizona’s finest seizure care is available at Dignity Health, including treatment for nonepileptic seizures and epileptic seizures in Arizona. Several Dignity Health hospitals are Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Centers. Learn more about our comprehensive neurology services at each state-of-the-art location:
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Medications for Epileptic Seizures
Medications are almost always the first treatment tried for epilepsy. Doctors use them first because they control seizures in 70 percent of people with epilepsy. Although antiseizure drugs can’t cure the condition, they can greatly reduce the frequency of seizures or completely stop seizures from occurring.
The goal of using medicines is to have no seizures and no side effects. This can be a challenge. All medicines have the potential to cause side effects. It also can take time to find the right drug and right dose to control your seizures. The good news is there are many antiseizure medicines, and if one doesn’t work, another might. If you can’t tolerate the side effects of one, you may find better results with a different one. About half of people get their seizures under control with their first medicine.
Common examples of antiseizure medicines are:
- Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Carbamazepine (T)egretol
- Divalproex sodium (D)epakote and valproic acid (D)epakene
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Levetiracetam (Keppra)
- Phenytoin (D)ilantin
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Tiagabine hydrochloride (G)abitril
- Topiramate (T)opamax
Other Treatments for Epileptic Seizures
Other forms of treatment for epileptic seizures include:
- Changes in diet to prevent seizures associated with certain types of epilepsy, especially in children
- Electrical stimulation to interfere with abnormal electrical activity in the brain
- Surgery to remove the epileptic focus (the part of the brain where abnormal electrical activity originates)
- Therapy such as counseling or psychological therapy to help you cope with the difficulties of epilepsy
Considering Your Seizure Treatment Options
Talk with your Dignity Health doctor about the goals, benefits, and side effects of your treatment options for seizures. Ask why your doctor is recommending a particular treatment for you, and be honest about any challenges you may have keeping up with your medication. Together, you and your doctor can plan the most effective treatment for your lifestyle and bring your seizures under control. Dignity Health provides comprehensive seizure treatment for nonepileptic and epileptic seizures in Arizona.