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Epilepsy treatment

Epilepsy may be treated with medications, surgery, a special diet or implanted devices.

Medications

Medications are still the first line of therapy for epilepsy. Appropriately chosen medications should be effective in treating epilepsy in a majority of the population.

Surgery

When drugs fail to control or substantially reduce seizures, surgery on the brain may be considered. Although some techniques are recent, surgical removal of seizure-producing areas of the brain has been an accepted form of treatment for medically refractory (medication-resistant) epilepsy for more than 50 years.

Implanted device (VNS)

With vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a pacemaker-like device implanted under the skin of the chest is connected to and programmed to mildly stimulate the vagus nerve in the neck, which can improve seizure control.

Implanted device (RNS)

Recently approved by the FDA, the RNS® System is a novel, implantable therapeutic device that delivers responsive neurostimulation, an advanced technology designed to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain and respond by delivering imperceptible levels of electrical stimulation to normalize brain activity before an individual experiences seizures.

Diet

A ketogenic diet may be considered when medications fail to control seizures. The strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is most often used with children.