If treatment for seizures is indicated, medication is almost always the first step. There are many types of medications used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Medications are selected based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, the cost of the medication, and the adherence with the use of the medication.
Medications used at home are usually taken by mouth (as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrup), but some can be given rectally (into the child's rectum). If the child is in the hospital with seizures, medication by injection or intravenous (IV) may be used.
It is important to give your child his/her medication on time and as prescribed by your child's physician. Different people use up the medication in their body differently, so adjustments (schedule and dosage) may need to be made for good control of seizures.
- Side effects
All medications can have side effects, although some children may not experience them. Discuss your child's medication and potential side effects with his/her physician.
- Monitoring medication effectiveness
While your child is taking medications, different tests may be done to monitor their effectiveness. These tests may include:
- Blood work: Frequent blood draws testing is usually required to check the level of the medication in the body. Based on this level, the physician may increase or decrease the dose of the medication to achieve the desired level. This level is called the "therapeutic level" and is where the medication works most efficiently. Blood work may also be done to monitor the affects of medications on body organs.
- Urine tests: These tests are performed to see how the child's body is responding to the medication.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): A procedure that records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp. This test is done to monitor how the medication is helping the electrical problems in the brain.
- List of seizure medications
- ACTH (ACHTAR Gel)
- Carbamazepine (TEGRETOL, CARBATROL)
- Clobazam (FRISIUM)
- Clorazepate (TRANXENE)
- Clonazepam (KLONOPIN)
- Diazepam (VALIUM)
- Ethosuximide (ZARONTIN)
- Felbamate (FELBATOL)
- Lacosamide (VIMPAT)
- Lorazepam (ATIVAN)
- Rufinamide (BANZEL)
- Gabapentin (NEURONTIN)
- Lamotrigine (LAMICTAL)
- Levtiracetam (KEPPRA)
- Oxcarbazepine (TRILEPTAL)
- Phenbarbital (LUMINAL)
- Phenytoin (DILANTIN, PHENYTEK)
- Pregablin (LYRICA)
- Tiagabine (GABITRIL)
- Topiramate (TOPAMAX)
- Valproic acid (DEPAKOTE, DEPAKENE)
- Vigabatrin (SABRIL)
- Zonisamide (ZONEGRAN)
Please visit www.epilepsy.com for more information on available seizure medications.