You have Epilepsy. People with epilepsy can have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical and chemical activity in your brain. The doctor gave you a physical and neurological examination and did some tests to find out the cause of your seizures.
Your doctor sent you home with some medicines to help you avoid having more seizures if there was reason to think you were at continued risk of seizures. After you get home, your doctor may still need to change the dose of your seizure drugs or add new medicines. This may be because your seizures are not controlled, or you are having side effects.
You should get plenty of sleep and try to keep as regular a schedule as possible. Try to avoid too much stress.
Make sure your home is safe to help prevent injuries if a seizure takes place:
Most people with seizures can have a very active lifestyle. Plan ahead for the possible dangers of a certain activity. Avoid any activity where loss of consciousness would be dangerous until it is clear that seizures are unlikely to occur.
Wear a medical alert or ID bracelet. Tell family members, friends, and the people you work with about your seizure disorder.
Driving your own car is generally safe and legal once the seizures are controlled. State laws vary. You can get information about your state laws from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Find out more at the Epilepsy Foundation.
Never stop taking any seizure medicines without talking with your doctor. Do not stop taking your seizure drugs just because your seizures have stopped.
Tips for taking your seizure medicines:
If you miss a dose:
Drinking Alcohol or doing illegal drugs can cause seizures.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you need to be tested for blood levels of your seizure drug. Seizure drugs have side effects. If you started taking a new drug recently, or your doctor changed the dose of your seizure drug, these side effects may go away. Always ask your doctor about the side effects you may have and how to manage them.
For women during childbearing years:
Once a seizure starts, there is no way to stop it. Family members and caregivers can only help make sure you are safe from further injury. They can also call for help, if needed.
When a seizure starts, family members or caregivers should try to keep you from falling. They should help you to the ground, in a safe area. They should clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects. Caregivers should also:
Things your friends and family members should not do:
Call your doctor if you have:
Call 911 if:
Focal seizure - discharge; Jacksonian seizure - discharge; Seizure - partial (focal) - discharge; TLE - discharge; Seizure - temporal lobe - discharge; Seizure - tonic-clonic - discharge; Seizure - grand mal - discharge; Grand mal seizure - discharge; Seizure - generalized - discharge
Harden CL, Pennell PB, Koppel BS, Hovinga CA, Gidal B, Meador KJ, et al. Practice parameter update: management issues for women with epilepsy--focus on pregnancy (an evidence-based review): vitamin K, folic acid, blood levels, and breastfeeding: report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee and Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and American Epilepsy Society. Neurology. 2009 Jul14;73(2):142-9. Epub 2009 Apr 27.
French JA, Pedley TA. Clinical practice. Initial management of epilepsy. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(2):166-76.
Trescher WH, Lesser RP. The epilepsies. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 71.
Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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