Dietary Therapy for Epilepsy

Understanding available treatment options can help you take control of your epilepsy, rather than let it take control of you. Every person is different; what works best for you is something you and your doctor need to work together to decide.

Most cases of epilepsy can be successfully controlled with medication. However, despite advances in anti-seizure medication, a significant percentage of epilepsy cases do not respond to known medications. According to Joseph Sirven, MD, “This condition is also referred to as medically refractory or pharmacoresistant epilepsy. As many as 20 to 40 percent of patients with epilepsy…are likely to have refractory epilepsy.” (Evaluation and Management of Refractory Epilepsy; 2004)

According to Dr. Eric Kossoff of Johns Hopkins Hospital, “Despite a doubling of anticonvulsants available for the treatment of epilepsy over the last decade, there has been a growing recognition that if two or three drugs don’t work, the odds of finding a successful medicine for seizures is nearly zero. Many children, adolescents and adults look for another answer.”

Ketogenic dietary therapy has been a standard treatment used when anti-seizure medication fails, or when some patients find the side effects of medication intolerable. Newer versions of the diet, such as the Modified Atkins Diet for seizures are also receiving attention as a first-line treatment for certain forms of epilepsy.

Explore our site for information on the Modified Atkins Diet for seizures, articles from parents and teens using the diet, as well as information from Dr. Eric Kossoff from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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