Can epilepsy be cured?
This is the question every patient with epileptic seizures asks. Recent advances in medicine have made epilepsy a treatable disease.
The newest antiepileptic drugs have been created , new principles of treatment, including surgical treatment, have been developed, a special ketogenic diet has been developed, modern diagnostic methods are used , qualified specialists – epileptologists have been trained , experience in treatment taking into account the forms of epilepsy is accumulating .
These innovations in epileptology have helped many patients with epilepsy, give them freedom from seizures, give them the opportunity to study, play sports, work and much more, which means living a fulfilling life.
Rational therapy of patients with all forms of epilepsy made it possible to achieve a significant improvement in the condition of patients in the form of recovery, or long-term remission (complete absence of seizures against the background or upon discontinuation of therapy), or a decrease in the frequency of seizures by more than 50%. Through the joint efforts of science, doctors, patients and their loved ones, as well as with the support of the state (disability pensions for seriously ill patients, free medicines from preferential lists), with a favorable attitude towards such patients in society (creation of public organizations, rehabilitation centers, publications in the media) at this stage has led to the fact that epilepsy can be cured completely in 60-70% of patients.
In 20-30% of patients, epilepsy is difficult to treat with AED, i.e. is pharmacoresistant .
Treating epilepsy means preventing seizures
It is important to start treating the disease from the very beginning, then the likelihood of curing epilepsy increases significantly.
Most often, the prognosis for recovery depends on the form of the disease. As a rule, with genetic forms of epilepsy, it is easier and faster to cure , the course is smoother, the number and doses of anticonvulsants are less, the duration of treatment is shorter, patients do not have other symptoms of damage to the nervous system, do not lag behind their peers in development, and do not have pronounced changes in behavior. This does not apply to all forms of hereditary epilepsy, but for the majority.
There are forms, like epileptic encephalopathy , in which postponement or improperly selected treatment leads to rapid regression or underdevelopment of speech, mental retardation, and mental changes. Even with the subsequent correctly selected anticonvulsant therapy, it is not possible to restore the lost skills, speech, and improve behavior.
Some of the benign forms of epilepsy may not be treated.
And other, severe forms of epilepsy do not respond to taking many antiepileptic drugs, the outcome of the disease often depends on the early onset and the correct antiepileptic drug.
How long to take epilepsy medicine
The time of taking antiepileptic drugs is not lifelong.
In case of clinical Electroencephalographic remission when in 3-5 years no seizures and epileptiform discharges on the right held the EEG, the doctor epileptolog decide on the gradual reduction and subsequent complete abolition of anti-epileptic drugs.
The process of withdrawing epilepsy medications is very individual and usually takes several months. Cancellation requires dynamic observation of a specialist, additional examination methods (including sleep EEG ), strict adherence to the doctor’s recommendations.
In case of relapse, when seizures resume or epileptiform discharges on the electroencephalogram return, the doctor decides to resume taking antiepileptic drugs.
There is a new selection of anticonvulsants, the dose is selected, concomitant therapy (vitamins, sedatives, hepatoprotectors, and others) is often prescribed strictly according to indications.
Relapse of seizures occurs more often when:
- insufficient duration of the course of antiepileptic drugs;
- if the treatment was carried out in low doses, that is, below the recommended therapeutic doses;
- in the case of drug-resistant forms of epilepsy.
Summing up, let’s say that if you know how to treat epilepsy , then this disease is 60-70% curable if the therapy is carried out correctly.