that resemble seizures, but are not epileptic. Even if a spell was a seizure,
the seizures begin on both sides of the brain (generalized) or in a discrete
to convulsions. Epilepsy may result from many conditions, including head
tolerable, a second medication will be substituted or added. Commonly
trauma, stroke, birth injury or tumor, although the majority of cases
used medications include phenytoin, carbamazepine, valproic acid and
use of several new antiepileptic medications, including Neurontin
will have persistent seizures despite medication use. Patients with partial
for generalized seizures, while others are more effective for partial
have no identifiable cause. A minority of the cases are hereditary.
may vary greatly in appearance from individual to individual. Seizures can
many times the risk of recurrence is low and treatment is not required. An
magnetic resonance imaging study (MRI) may show evidence of scar tissue or
new antiepileptic medications are currently being evaluated in
of antiepileptic medications, but efffective treatment depends on proper
other structural abnormality that would support the diagnosis of epilepsy.
patient truly has epilepsy. Fainting, heart arrhythmias, medication use and
physical exam, along with the tests mentioned above, to determine whether
phenobarbital. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved the
psychiatric conditions are examples of conditions that may result in spells
range from an unusual sensation or hallucination to episodes of confusion
seizures. The physician chooses the medication with the most favorable
seizure type and then works with the patient to find the appropriate dose.
seizures who do not respond to medications may be candidates for epilepsy
side-effect profile that is likely to be effective for the patient's
surgery, in which the abnormal brain tissue responsible for causing the
seizures is removed.
appropriate medication regimen has ben established for them. A minority
area of one side of the brain (partial). Certain medications are more useful
diagnosis. The first part of diagnosis involves determining whether the
electroencephalogram (EEG) may show abnormal brain electrical activity or a
experimental clinical trials.
(gabapentin), Lamictal (lamotrigine) and Felbatol (felbamate). Other
Americans. It is characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures, which
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects 2.5 million
In the majority of patients, epilepsy is readily treatable with a variety
Most patients have good or excellent control of their seizures once the
Occasionally, patients are admitted to the hospital for simultaneous video
Occasionally, if seizures are not controlled or if side effects are not
Once the diagnosis of epilepsy is made, the physician uses the history and
and EEG monitoring in an attempt to "capture a spell," which can then be
analyzed to determine if epileptic seizures are occurring.