Posts Tagged AEDs

[VIDEO] Anti-Epileptic Drugs – a video explanation

Have you ever wondered how antiepileptic drugs work? Our short video narrated by Epilepsy Research UK Chair of Trustees, Dr Graeme Sills, will give you a clear picture of the type of drugs that are used in epilepsy and how they work.

How do AEDs work? from Rose Thompson on Vimeo.

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[WEB SITE] Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help?

 

Epilepsy is a disease that disrupts the electrical activity of the nervous system, causing seizures.

More than 65 million people in the world have epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation estimate that 1 in 26 Americans will develop the disease during their lives.

Children are the group most frequently diagnosed with new cases of epilepsy. In the United States, 300,000 children under 14 are affected by the condition. Some may outgrow the disorder, but most will not. The number of senior citizens with epilepsy is also 300,000.

People with epilepsy have a range of treatment options, including alternative therapies.

The illness is a complex condition, however, and all alternative treatment options must be looked at carefully, to ensure they are effective.

It is essential to work with a doctor when making changes in treatment, as every epileptic seizure can cause brain damage, and the effects build up. So, any treatment must work to avoid seizures.

Causes of epilepsy

electrical activity in the brain diagram

Epilepsy is a complex disease that can disrupt the electrical activity of the nervous system.

Infections, which can cause scarring on the brain that leads to seizures, are among the more common causes of epilepsy.

Possible links between autism and epilepsy are also under investigation, as a third of children on the autism spectrum are also likely to have seizures.

In the over 65s, strokes are the most common cause of new seizures. Family history and brain injuries account for other cases.

However, the Epilepsy Foundation say the cause is unknown in 60 percent of people.

Eight natural remedies for epilepsy

People with epilepsy and their doctors are expressing growing interest in alternative therapies.

Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) help most people control their symptoms, these do not work for everyone. Furthermore, some people are concerned about the long-term safety of these drugs.

Complementary health practices for epilepsy, such as the eight natural remedies discussed here, are designed for use in combination with AEDs.

After talking to a doctor, and before beginning natural treatments, people with epilepsy should ensure they are working with a well-qualified and informed therapist.

Common complementary treatments for epilepsy include the following:

Medical marijuana

Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, as it is commonly known, has been used to treat convulsions for centuries. Today, it is attracting increasing attention from people with epilepsy, clinicians, and researchers.

Interest in the use of medical marijuana is particularly strong for the roughly 1 million U.S. residents whose seizures are not controlled by AEDs. Some families with young children, suffering from severe seizures, have moved to one of the 22 states where medical marijuana use is legal.

Charlotte’s Web is a strain of cannabis bred to contain high levels of CBD, a part of the plant showing promise against seizures. It is named after a child whose convulsions dropped from more than 300 a week to 2-3 a month with this treatment.

However, since broad-based, well-designed scientific studies have yet to prove the effectiveness of marijuana in treating epilepsy, doctors do not generally recommend its use.

Diet

The ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that may help to reduce seizures.

Diet is one of the earliest forms of treatment for epilepsy and is used with contemporary variations to make it easier for children and adults to adopt.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has had some success in reducing seizures in children who cannot tolerate or benefit from AEDs. It requires extensive commitment and monitoring.

The Atkins diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is less restrictive and has shown positive effects.

Low glycemic index treatment (LGIT) is similar but allows for a targeted level of carbohydrate consumption.

Herbal treatments

Herbs are used for many illnesses by 80 percent of the world’s population. Remedies drawing on Chinese traditions have shown promise in treating epilepsy.

Some herbs, such as chamomile, passionflower, and valerian, may make AEDs more effective and calming.

However, ginkgo, ginseng, and stimulating herbs containing caffeine and ephedrine can make seizures worse.

St. John’s wort can interfere with medications and make seizures more likely, similarly to evening primrose and borage.

Caution is advised when working with all these herbs.

It is important to remember that herbs are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If any herbs are used, they should be researched and bought from reputable sources.

Vitamins

Low levels of the B6 vitamin have been known to trigger seizures.

Magnesium, vitamin E, and other vitamins and nutritional supplements, have been identified as either promising or problematic for treating epilepsy.

People taking AEDs are often advised to take vitamin D supplements to keep their systems in balance.

Along with vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E, which have been found to be helpful in treating epilepsy, doctors have found treatment with manganese and taurine reduced seizures, as well.

Thiamine may help improve the ability to think in people with epilepsy.

Biofeedback

When AEDs do not work, some people have successfully used biofeedback to reduce seizures.

With the use of extensive training and a machine that detects electrical activity in the brain, the technique teaches individuals to recognize the warning signs of seizures, and train their brains to prevent a full-blown attack.

Relaxation

Stress and anxiety are both linked to seizures.

There are many different practices that people with epilepsy can follow on their own to help them feel calmer, relax their muscles, get better sleep, and enjoy a better state of mind.

All these actions taken together can help reduce seizures and make it easier for people to manage their epilepsy.

People should be cautious if trying meditation, as this can change the electrical signals in the brain.

Some essential oils used in aromatherapy, such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, have been found to be effective in preventing seizures when used with relaxation techniques.

However, the Epilepsy Society report that others may provoke seizures. These include spike lavender, eucalyptus, camphor, sage, rosemary, hyssop, and fennel.

Acupuncture and chiropractic

acupuncture

Acupuncture may help to reduce the stress of living with epilepsy.

While acupuncture does not seem to be helpful in preventing seizures, people with epilepsy find it can reduce the stress of living with the condition.

There is little evidence on chiropractic care, but it also may be among the natural treatments people with epilepsy find useful.

Education and avoiding triggers

Education and avoidance can have a big impact on quality of life for people with this condition.

Many of those with epilepsy find that their seizures develop in response to specific triggers. This is the case for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Learning how to avoid situations and stimuli that could spark a seizure can be very helpful. Some children may learn to avoid using video games in dark rooms, for example, or to cover one eye when exposed to flashing lights.

Do natural treatments for epilepsy work?

For many practices, there has not been enough study to give a definite answer to this question, one way or the other.

The following overview of the top natural treatments for epilepsy offers a quick summary of their reported effectiveness:

  • Diet: The ketogenic diet, usually prescribed for children whose epilepsy does not respond to AEDs, has been shown to cut their seizures by half and eliminate seizures completely for 10-15 percent of those studied.
  • Herbal treatments: Two studies of Chinese herbal compounds found them effective at reducing seizures in children and adults. But some herbs, such as St. John’s wort, can make seizures worse.
  • Vitamins: Many studies have linked low levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E to seizures. Treating people with supplemental doses helped reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • Biofeedback: Researchers in 10 different studies showed that 74 percent of people whose epilepsy could not be treated with medication, reported fewer seizures after they learned this technique.
  • Relaxation: Fewer seizures and a better quality of life were reported by children who took part in trials, according to research.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic: Scientific studies have not found acupuncture to be effective for people with epilepsy. However, positive outcomes were reported for some children with drug-resistant epilepsy who tried chiropractic therapy.
  • Education: After learning more about epilepsy, coping strategies for it, and how to take medication, improved quality of life was observed for people of all ages with epilepsy.

Conclusion

Many reports on the effectiveness of complementary treatments for epilepsy come from personal experience, and from studies that are not considered conclusive.

Most importantly, people should always talk to their doctor before trying natural treatments to help ease their symptoms.

Source: Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help? – Medical News Today

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[ARTICLE] The relationship between sleep and epilepsy – Full Text HTML

Abstract
Epilepsy and sleep have a close association and a two way interaction. Recognising this allows for a greater awareness of the importance of good quality sleep in epilepsy patients with potential benefits on seizure control and quality of life. This article reviews this complicated but fascinating area addressing diagnostic issues, the effects of epilepsy and its treatments on sleep, the effects of sleep disorders on epilepsy concluding with some practical advice on assessment.


Introduction

Sleep and epilepsy are intimate bedfellows, having an impact on each other and adversely affecting quality of life and daytime performance.1 Sleep has an important role in memory consolidation.2 Sleep deprivation impairs this process3 and epilepsy can upset this delicate balance.4 Sleep disorders are up to three times as common in epilepsy5 and can be a major contributor to refractory seizures,6 poorer quality of life7 and possibly SUDEP.8 Recognition of the comorbid sleep disorder and successful treatment can lead to significant improvements in seizure control.9 Many patients with epilepsy have seizures in sleep, some exclusively so. Often diagnosis is difficult due to incomplete histories from sleep partners. Even when telemetry facilities are available, data can be difficult to interpret and EEG is not always diagnostic.10 To add to this complexity, epilepsy treatments often have impact on sleep. Understanding this complex relationship can lead to better treatment outcomes for patients. This review will begin with diagnostic issues, moving on to the effects of epilepsy and its treatments on sleep, the effects of sleep disorders on epilepsy and concludes with practical advice on assessment.

Continue —> The relationship between sleep and epilepsy | ACNR | Online Neurology Journal

dennis-figure-1

Figure 1: A video EEG image of a nocturnal seizure showing short lived dystonic posturing of the right hand seen immediately on waking. 30 stereotyped attacks were recorded over 2 nights. The EEG was normal throughout. Awareness was reported for most attacks although the hand posturing was not recalled by the patient.

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[ARTICLE] The relationship between sleep and epilepsy | ACNR | – Full Text

Abstract
Epilepsy and sleep have a close association and a two way interaction. Recognising this allows for a greater awareness of the importance of good quality sleep in epilepsy patients with potential benefits on seizure control and quality of life. This article reviews this complicated but fascinating area addressing diagnostic issues, the effects of epilepsy and its treatments on sleep, the effects of sleep disorders on epilepsy concluding with some practical advice on assessment.


Introduction

Sleep and epilepsy are intimate bedfellows, having an impact on each other and adversely affecting quality of life and daytime performance.1 Sleep has an important role in memory consolidation.2 Sleep deprivation impairs this process3 and epilepsy can upset this delicate balance.4 Sleep disorders are up to three times as common in epilepsy5 and can be a major contributor to refractory seizures,6 poorer quality of life7 and possibly SUDEP.8 Recognition of the comorbid sleep disorder and successful treatment can lead to significant improvements in seizure control.9 Many patients with epilepsy have seizures in sleep, some exclusively so. Often diagnosis is difficult due to incomplete histories from sleep partners. Even when telemetry facilities are available, data can be difficult to interpret and EEG is not always diagnostic.10 To add to this complexity, epilepsy treatments often have impact on sleep. Understanding this complex relationship can lead to better treatment outcomes for patients. This review will begin with diagnostic issues, moving on to the effects of epilepsy and its treatments on sleep, the effects of sleep disorders on epilepsy and concludes with practical advice on assessment.

Epilepsy Syndromes Closely Associated with Sleep

There are a small number of epilepsy syndromes which are predominantly or exclusively associated with sleep (Table 1). Seizures arising from sleep are almost always of focal onset. These include the childhood onset syndromes of benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS, Rolandic epilepsy), benign childhood epilepsy with occipital paroxsysms (Panayiotopoulos syndrome) and the frontal lobe epilepsy syndromes (including autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy ADNFLE). Idiopathic generalised epilepsy syndromes (IGE) such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) and generalised tonic clonic seizures on waking arise shortly before or after sleep onset but not from a sleep state.

dennis-table-1

Continue —> The relationship between sleep and epilepsy | ACNR | Online Neurology Journal

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[WEB SITE] List of 31 Common Epilepsy and Seizure Medications – Healthy resources

LIST OF 31 COMMON EPILEPSY AND SEIZURE MEDICATIONS

Get a Complete Understanding

Epilepsy is a disorder in which the brain sends abnormal signals, which can lead to seizures. Although seizures can occur for a variety of reasons, such as injury or sickness, epilepsy causes recurrent seizures. There are many types of epileptic seizures. Many of them can be treated with anti-seizure medications.

https://tbirehabilitation.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/man-woman-upset_3106.jpg?w=620

Anti-seizure medications are also known as antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), there are more than 20 AEDs available through prescription. While there are many options in epilepsy treatment, your therapy choices will depend on your:

  • age
  • type of seizures
  • frequency of seizures
  • lifestyle
  • chances of pregnancy (in women)

Seizure medications are available in two types: narrow- and broad-spectrum AEDs. Some patients may need more than one medication to prevent epileptic seizures more effectively. It’s important to discuss the possibility of side effects, and even worsening seizures, with your doctor before starting any of these medications.

See average costs for the most common epilepsy medications »

Part 2 of 3: Narrow-Spectrum AEDs

Narrow-Spectrum AEDs

Narrow-spectrum AEDs are designed for specific types of seizures. These are the most appropriate medications if seizures occur in one specific part of the brain on a regular basis.

Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro)

Carbamazepine is used to treat seizures that occur in the temporal lobe. It may also be helpful in treating secondary, partial, and refractory seizures. It is used for many other purposes, including pain and mood treatment. Carbamazepine interacts with many other drugs.

Clobazam (Frisium, Onfri)

Clobazam helps prevent absence, secondary, and partial seizures. It is a benzodiazepine, a drug class that is often used for sedation, sleep, and anxiety. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, this medication may be used in patients as young as 2 years old. It has recently been linked to a rare but potentially serious skin reaction.

Diazepam (Valium, Diastat)

Used to treat cluster seizures, diazepam can also be used to treat prolonged seizures. Diazepam is a benzodiazepine. It’s also used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and more. The product Diastat is used rectally for life threatening seizures.

Divalproex (Depakote)

This medication is approved to help treat complex partial, absence, partial, and multiple seizure types. Divalproex increases availability of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It may also be helpful for bipolar mania and migraines.

Eslicarbazepine Acetate (Aptiom)

This seizure drug is approved as additional (adjunctive) treatment for partial-onset seizures. Its action is thought to involve blockade of sodium channels.

Ethosuximide (Zarontin)

This AED is used to treat all forms of absence seizures. These also include atypical, childhood, and juvenile absence seizures. Ethosuxemide reduces the likelihood of seizures.

Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Gabarone)

Glabapentin is used to treat partial seizures. It may be preferable over other AEDs because the potential side effects are mild. The most common are dizziness and fatigue. Gabapentin is also widely used for several pain syndromes.

Lacosamide (Vimpat)

This medication is used for partial seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, it is approved for patients ages 17 and older. Lacosamide may be prescribed orally or intravenously.

Perampanel (Fycompa)

Perampanel is used to treat complex, simple, and refractory seizures. The way it works is not fully understood. The medication is thought to affect glutamate receptors in the brain. Perampanel can cause serious of life-threatening psychiatric or behavioral adverse reactions.

Phenobarbital

This is one of the first and oldest seizure medications still used in the treatment of epilepsy. It can treat generalized seizures, partial seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures. Phenobarbital is a long-acting sedative drug with anticonvulsant action.

Phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek, and others)

Phenytoin is another old and prominent anti-epileptic drug on the market. It stabilizes neuronal membranes. It’s used in the treatment of complex, simple, and refractory seizures. Phenytoin is available in both capsule and liquid form.

Pregabalin (Lyrica)

This medication is used as additional (adjunctive) treatment for partial-onset seizures. Pregabalin is used more often to treat diabetic neuropathy or fibromyalgia.

Rufinamide (Banzel)

This medication is used as additional (adjunctive) treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It can cause adverse effects like high rate of heart rhythm changes and drug interactions. These effects limit the use of this drug.

Tiagabine Hydrochloride (Gabitril)

This medication is used as additional (adjunctive) treatment for complex and simple partial seizures.

Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)

Oxcarbasepine is used to treat call types of focal seizures. According to Panayiotopoulos, it can be used in adults and children as young as 2 years old.

Vigabatrin (Sabril)

This medication is used as additional (adjunctive) treatment for complex partial seizures. This medication is restricted in use. It must be prescribed and dispensed by prescribers and pharmacies registered with the program. It comes with possible serious adverse effects, including permanent vision loss.

Part 3 of 3: Broad-Spectrum AEDs

Broad-Spectrum AEDs

If you have more than one type of seizure, a broad-spectrum AED may be your best choice of treatment. These medications are designed to prevent seizures in more than one part of the brain, as opposed to the focalized effects of narrow-spectrum AEDs.

Clonazepam (Epitril, Klonopin, Rivotril)

Clonazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine. It’s used to treat multiple types of seizures. This includes myoclonic, akinetic, and absence seizures. Klonopin is the most common brand name. Clonazepam is also used to treat several other non-epileptic disorders.

Ezogabine (Potiga)

This AED is used as an additional (adjunctive) treatment. It’s used for generalized seizures, refractory, and complex partial seizures. Ezogabine can cause vision abnormalities that can become vision loss over time. It’s reserved for patients who do not respond to other drugs.

Felbamate (Felbatol)

Felbamate is used to treat nearly all types of seizures in people who don’t respond to other therapy. It can be used as single therapy or in combination with other drugs. It is used when other therapies have failed.

Lamotrigine (Lamictal)

This medication may treat a wide range of epileptic seizures. It’s also sometimes used in the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. When you start lamotrigine, your dose is gradually increased. People on this drug must watch for rare skin reactions, which can be serious.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

Lorazepam is approved for use in status epilepticus (prolonged, critical seizure). Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It’s often used for anxiety and mild sedation, with a rapid onset of action. It’s available in oral tablets, liquid, and injectable forms.

Primidone (Mysoline)

Primidone is used to treat myoclonic, tonic-clonic, and focal seizures. This medication is also approved for the use in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

Topiramate (Topamax)

Used as single or in combination treatment for a variety of seizures, topiramate is only available in its brand-name form Topamax. It has several actions. Topiramate is also used to treat migraine. It may also cause headache in some patients.

Levetiracetam (Keppra)

Levetiracetam is considered first line therapy for generalized and partial seizures, atypical, absence and other types of seizures. According to Panayiotopoulos, this promising drug can be used to treat all focal or generalized, idiopathic, or symptomatic epilepsy in people of all ages. It is also considered one of the drugs most free from adverse reactions.

Zonisamide (Zonegran)

Zonisamide is used as additional (adjuctive) treatment in partial seizures and other types of epilepsy. This drug has been shown to be effective in treating a range of epilepsy and seizure types. However, it comes with many potentially serious adverse reactions.

Valproic Acid

Valproic acid is a common AED. It’s approved to treat most seizures on its own or in combination treatment. Valproic acid increases the availability of gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter to brain neurons. Valproic acid is also used to treat mood disorders or migraine. It is available in the following brands:

  • Depacon
  • Depakene
  • Depakine
  • Depakote
  • Depakote Sprinkles
  • Stavzor

Source: List of 31 Common Epilepsy and Seizure Medications – Healthy resources

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[WEB SITE] Seizure Decisions: After an unprovoked seizure, patients are often left wondering what’s next. A new guideline from a panel of epilepsy experts tries to answer that question.

Dolan, Darrach

Last September, Anthony Bonadio, 26, flew from New York to San Diego for a friend’s wedding. The morning after the wedding, he turned on the water for a shower—and the next thing he remembers is waking up in an ambulance. His friend, who was sharing the hotel room, says he heard a heavy thump followed by several more. He rushed to the bathroom and found Bonadio convulsing on the floor.

GETTY IMAGESSCIENCE ...

In October, after a long, stressful day playing piano in auditions for a Broadway musical, Nick Day, 23, went to bed and fell asleep. When he woke up, his girlfriend told him he’d had a seizure and an ambulance was on the way.Both young men were examined by emergency department doctors, observed for a few hours, and sent home with orders to take it easy. Both were told that unprovoked seizures were quite common and that theirs may have been brought on by exhaustion.

AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Each year, an estimated 150,000 Americans experience unprovoked seizures—seizures without an obvious trigger like a blow to the head, a high fever, low blood sugar, or alcohol withdrawal. More than 50 percent of the time, patients will never have a second seizure, even though the cause of the first remains a mystery.Neither Bonadio nor Day knew whether the seizure was an isolated incident or signaled the onset of epilepsy. Should they take antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) to reduce the risk of having a second seizure, or do nothing and hope they were among the percentage of patients who never have another seizure?With such uncertainty common in medical practice, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Epilepsy Society convened a panel of experts to review the available evidence and draft a guideline, published in the journal Neurology, to help patients and doctors decide what to do in the case of a first unprovoked seizure. The experts set out to answer three questions: If you have an unprovoked seizure, what is your risk of a second one? If you take an AED immediately after your first seizure, will this help you remain free of seizures in the long term? And are there any adverse side effects of AEDs that patients need to know about?

Continue —> Seizure Decisions: After an unprovoked seizure, patients are… : Neurology Now.

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[WEB SITE] Management of Epilepsy During Pregnancy – Medscape

Abstract

Child-bearing years are often the most precarious management period in the life of a woman with epilepsy. This article reviews the results of many different studies with findings that enable the healthcare team to make confident decisions and recommendations during these critical periods. Preconceptional planning, effective contraception and folic acid supplementation are important fundamentals in preparation for pregnancy. There is growing evidence to avoid valproic acid use during the child-bearing years. Emerging data on congenital malformations and neurocognitive outcomes are available for some of the second-generation antiepileptic drugs and appear reassuring for lamotrigine and levetiracetam. Also reviewed are the benefits of postpartum drug tapers and favorable breastfeeding facts. Counseling the mother and her family on medication choices enables the healthcare team to implement informed decisions that are beneficial for the mother and child.

Introduction

The management of epilepsy during pregnancy is challenging and complicated. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurologic disorder, but one of the most common chronic medical disorders of any kind that requires daily treatment with known teratogens during pregnancy. Over 1 million women with epilepsy in the USA are of reproductive age, and these women give birth to approximately 20,000 infants every year.[1] The majority of patients with epilepsy maintain seizure control during pregnancy, with actual seizure freedom reported in 66% of pregnant women in one large, international pregnancy registry.[2] But while some studies report that 63% of women experience no change in seizure activity, 17% experience an increase, and 16% a decrease in seizure frequency.[3] Seizures pose a risk to the developing fetus, especially if generalized tonic clonic convulsions. They can cause direct injuries from a fall, compromise the blood supply to the fetus, cause postictal hypoxia and lactic acidosis. This argues for stricter vigilance about seizure control during pregnancy than in any other period of a woman’s life. However, the treatment of epilepsy during pregnancy is a double-edged sword, because many of the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) that most effectively control seizures are also teratogenic to various degrees, posing another obvious risk to the developing fetus. This makes the management of the pregnant patient with epilepsy a unique challenge (Figure 1). With the increasing use of AEDs for various nonepileptic disorders like chronic or neuralgic forms of pain, migraines and mood disorders, it is necessary to understand the best evidence based strategies for using AEDs in pregnant women. This review presents numerous prospective studies, registry data and updated results describing treatment strategies and outcomes for treating epileptologists, general neurologists, internists, family practitioners, obstetricians and pediatricians.

Continue —> Management of Epilepsy During Pregnancy.

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[WEB SITE] Risk for Seizures After a Traumatic Brain Injury

A brain injury can cause many long-term problems in patients, resulting in frustrating and sometimes debilitating issues that have to be dealt with by medical professionals, family members and the patients themselves. One of those problems is seizures. While some people who have a TBI may never experience a seizure, it is a good idea to be on the lookout for risk factors and what a seizure looks like in order to understand how to best deal with the issue, and when and how to seek treatment.

Seizure Basics

Experts have found that about 5 percent of seizures occur in people with a TBI. Typically, the seizure occurs in the area where the brain was damaged in the injury, often where there is a scar. A seizure caused by a TBI may happen shortly after the injury, or may occur years later. A sudden electrical disturbance in the brain is what causes a seizure, which can result in some of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffening or shaking of the head, body or limbs
  • Staring and general unresponsiveness
  • Abnormal smell, sound, feeling or visual images
  • Fumbling movements, chewing or lip smacking
  • Inability to speak or understand other people
  • Sudden dizziness or tiredness

The symptoms of a seizure come on quickly and are uncontrollable for the patient. Some seizures may last only a few seconds, but may last for five to 10 minutes in some cases. During a seizure, a sufferer may be at risk for biting his or her tongue or the inside of the mouth. Afterwards, it may be difficult to stand, walk or communicate.

Conditions That Increase Seizure Risk

There are certain things that can cause the risk for seizures to increase, especially in TBI patients. Some of those conditions include the following:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • High fever
  • Low sodium, high calcium or other chemical changes

Avoiding these situations can be helpful for those who experience seizures after a traumatic brain injury.

Treating Seizures

About 70 to 80 percent of people who have seizures resulting from a TBI can be treated using medications. A doctor prescribes the medication based on the type of seizures, as well as other factors such as age, health and side effects. Antiepileptic drugs, also called AEDs, can help control seizures, but can also cause common side effects such as fatigue, confusion and double vision. For most people, the side effects are better than having frequent seizures.

Having a seizure can be a scary experience, but when you are aware of the signs and symptoms, you and your caretakers can keep you as safe as possible during one.

via Risk for Seizures After a Traumatic Brain Injury | The Smart Living Network.

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