Treatment Options For Epilepsy
Epilepsy treatment in India is initiated only when the patient experiences a second seizure within 24 hours. It is possible for an individual to have just one seizure in his lifetime and such patients do not need any treatment.
The treatment options for epilepsy in India include the following:
Anti-epileptic drugs are used as the first line of treatment against seizures to prevent the recurrence. These medicines cause a change in the electrical or chemical transmission in the brain to decrease the chance of seizure. Over 70 percent of patients suffering from epilepsy either experience a great reduction in seizure episodes or they become seizure-free with medications.
Vagus nerve stimulation
Vagus nerve stimulation is used for the treatment of epilepsy when:
- Medicines are unable to control epileptic seizures
- The patient experiences certain side effects after taking medications
- The patient is rendered unfit to undergo any other surgical treatment
During vagus nerve stimulation surgery, a pacemaker known as vagus nerve stimulator is implanted underneath the chest. This is done with the help of a wire which is wrapped around the vagus nerve on the left side of the neck. Vagus nerve receives a continuous dose of the electrical impulse from the device placed underneath the chest. This surgical procedure helps reduce seizure frequency by 20 to 50 percent. Seizures in some patients are completely managed with the help of this therapy.
This procedure involves stereotactical implantation of a medical device known as a neurostimulator. This device sends electrical impulses to specific targets in the brain through electrodes. The idea is to stop or control the abnormal brain signals resulting in seizures or other symptoms of epilepsy. Stimulation of these targets reduces the frequency of seizures.
It is a neurosurgical procedure in which one half of the brain hemisphere causing epilepsy is removed or disabled. This procedure is suggested to patients in whom epilepsy is confined to a broad area of a single hemisphere of the brain. Hemispherectomy surgery is reserved for the most complex cases of seizures episodes which cannot be controlled with the help of medications or any other less invasive surgery.
The ketogenic diet is usually preferred for the treatment of epilepsy in children as it involves eating a diet rich in fats but low in proteins and carbohydrates. This is done to alter the chemical balance of the brain to reduce the seizure episodes.