There are currently no medications that work to cure epilepsy, but there are medications that can help control epilepsy. Each patient with epilepsy responds differently to medication, but a single medication or a combination of medications may help to control seizures. Your doctor will work closely with you to determine which medications work best for you.

Specific treatment for seizures will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Type of the seizure
  • Frequency of the seizures
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

Medications that are taken at home are usually taken by mouth. If you are a patient in the hospital with seizures, medicine may be given by injection or intravenously by vein (IV).

If you are prescribed medication to treat your seizures, it is important that you take your medicine on time and as prescribed by your doctor. Medications work differently in each person’s body, so your doctor may need to change how often and how much of a medication you take to control your seizures.

All medicines can have side effects. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of any medication you take.

While you are taking medications to treat your seizures, different tests may be done to monitor how well the medication is working. These tests may include:

  • Blood work. Blood tests are done to check the amount of the medication in your body. Based on the amount, your doctor may increase or decrease how much medication you are taking. Blood work may also be done to monitor how your body organs are responding to the medication.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is a procedure that records the brain's electrical activity. This test is done to monitor how the medication is helping the electrical problems in the brain that may be causing the seizures.

Some patients at Inova participate in clinical trials to test investigational medications not yet available to the general public. What we learn in clinical trials may help others with epilepsy in the future.