Step 1: Medications

If you've been diagnosed with epilepsy, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you. Medications can greatly reduce or prevent seizures in most people. Find out more about the types of medications and the right way to take them ›

Treating Epilepsy: Medications

If you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you. Medications called antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the primary treatment for epilepsy. These medications greatly reduce or prevent seizures in most people who take them. For some people, other treatment options may be available.

Your Medication Plan

Your doctor will work with you to create the best medication plan for you.

  • Type of medication: There are many types of AEDs. The first type you try will likely help you. If not, your doctor may suggest another type, or a combination of AEDs.

  • Dosage: You will probably be started at a low dosage. The dosage will be slowly increased until your seizures are better controlled or a target dosage is reached.

  • Rescue medications: Your treatment plan may include special medications to stop seizures. They can be given to you during a seizure only by someone who has been specially instructed by a doctor.

Learn more about treating Epilepsy

Test Your Epilepsy Knowledge

True or False: A person with epilepsy needs extra sleep at night.

Diagnosing Epilepsy

Your primary care provider may be the first doctor to evaluate you for epilepsy. He or she may then refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. This specialist may be a neurologist (a doctor who treats the brain). Your evaluation will include a medical history, physical and neurologic exams, and tests.

This is the most important part of your evaluation. The doctor will ask you to describe your seizures. The doctor may also want to talk to family or friends who have observed your seizures. In addition, your doctor will ask about your risk factors. These are things that make you more likely to have epilepsy, and include:

Learn more about diagnosing Epilepsy

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Did You Know?

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Epilepsy affects as many people as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and cerebral palsy combined. It creates an estimated $15.5 billion in medical costs and lost earnings and production each year.