Epilepsy treatment primarily focuses on the reduction of seizures, thereby decreasing the probabilities of other underlying complications. Diagnosing the correct type of epilepsy is highly essential in choosing the appropriate course of treatment.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by seizures. The nerve cells of the brain release abnormal electrical impulses from time to time. Due to the abnormal electrical impulse, the other cells of the brain temporarily malfunctions, which results in complete loss or alteration of memory. A person suffering from this disorder may not know what is happening around him or her during an episode of a seizure, or may make involuntary motions like thrashing or jerking one or more parts of the body. The promoting factors might be hereditary reasons or brain injury, but the exact cause is still unknown.
When a person experiences an epileptic seizure, the body may stiffen and one may experience a change in the way things sound, taste, feel, smell and look. One may experience a tingling sensation in the legs and arms. A sudden intense emotion like joy or fear is common, and the muscles of the face, legs and arms may become stiff. Some of the other symptoms include smacking of lips, rubbing hands, making random noises, sudden jerking or twitching of the body, not being able to respond to anything, and temporary memory loss. This condition is not curable, only the symptoms can be prevented from getting worse. There are a variety of medications available, but these medicines should only be taken after consulting a doctor.
Epilepsy Medication List
As mentioned above, medications are only used to manage the symptoms of the disorder and as such, it may take some time to search for the right dose of medications so as to provide optimum control of seizures, and minimize side effects at the same time. For treatment, a doctor may include a different combination of drugs and may prescribe a specific dietary pattern. The last couple of decades have seen a large number of medications being approved, thereby increasing the options for treating patients.
Some of the common medications to treat this disease include:
- Diamox SR
- Tegretol Retard
Side Effects of Medication
Similar to all other drugs, medications for this condition do carry side effects. There are three types of side effects, which may occur depending on the dosage, medications, and other possibilities. Let’s take a look at the three types in detail.
Depending on the dosage, the side effects may increase or decrease. Unsteadiness, slurring of speech, and sedation are some of the side effects of antiepileptic medicines, related to dosage you take.
There are some side effects which are associated with particular antiepileptic medicines and may occur irrespective of the dosage. Depending on the prescribed drug, side effects may include changes in mood, hirsutism, gum dysplasia, irritability, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and double vision. At times, it may so happen that side effects may appear at the beginning of the treatment, and may disappear after a certain period as the body adjusts to these medications.
In some rare cases, side effects may develop due to an individual’s sensitivity or reaction to a particular drug. This development is called idiosyncratic reaction. In such cases, the liver might get damaged or one might develop the rash observed in case of Stevens Johnson syndrome. However, these cases are rare. As a thumb rule, it would be necessary to be aware of the side effects and report any changes in mood, behavior or health to your health care provider.
Types of Medications
For controlling seizures, drugs are used in most patients. Though, there are different types of medication, usually general medication is prescribed, and it has been found that in most patients there is a reduction of symptoms.
A precise diagnosis of the type is very important in order to choose the best possible treatment for the patient. The medication also depends upon other factors that are peculiar to each patient. For instance, the side effects might be tolerated, however, the medication taken may cause re-emergence of other diseases, which you had previously. The following list gives you some common types of medication that are currently used by medical professionals:
Carbatrol (carbamazepine) or Tegretol
This medicine is the first choice of most health care professionals and is used for mixed, generalized tonic-clonic or partial seizures. Side effects include rash, dizziness, nausea, vision changes, and fatigue.
This antiepileptic drug is used to treat absence seizures. Weight loss, decreased appetite, vomiting, and nausea are some of its side effects.
This medicine treats some generalized and partial seizures. The side effects are depression, headache, inability to sleep, and decreased appetite. In some cases, though very rare, this may cause liver or bone marrow failure. As such, doctors have limited the use of this drug and even if taken, you must regularly test your liver and blood.
This drug is mostly used in combination with other drugs for partial and generalized seizures. Some of the common side effects which you may suffer are anxiety, confusion, irritability, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness. The other common drugs used are Keppra, Lamictal, Lyrica, Neurontin (Gabapentin), Dilantin (Phenytoin), Topamax, Trileptal and Zonegran.
Epilepsy Medication for Children
There are a number of medications available for children, which can be used to stop or reduce the symptoms to a great extent. The last couple of decades have seen a number of new medicines being introduced in the market. However, it must be noted that there is no miracle cure for this condition. More often than not, doctors try to fine-tune the treatment using a combination of new and old drugs. Depakote, an anti-seizure medication, has been approved by the FDA to be used in children. This drug ingestion for the children is relatively easy, and it only involves the intake of one pill a day.
Medication cost depends on the kind of medicines prescribed, and the duration for which they are to be taken. Usually, you have to take medicines for a few years and so, you have to shell out quite a few dollars for your medicines. Usually, medicines would cost around USD 70 a month, but this figure is subject to change, depending on your requirement.
The aforementioned medications are easily available today and you can get them in any medical store in your area. However, they are available only if, they are prescribed by a medical practitioner, so you need to consult your doctor about the dosage.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.