The diagnosis of “epilepsy” is made to a person after several or more seizures have occurred to him, with the preliminary exclusion of other diseases that could also cause epilepsy seizures. Epilepsy is a condition of a person in which such seizures will happen to him often enough. Epilepsy affects one child out of a thousand, under the age of sixteen; among adults, the disease is more common – for 200 people, one has an epilepsy patient. With such numbers, it is worth considering the most basic issues in the treatment of epilepsy.
Is epilepsy needed?
The main goal of the treatment of epilepsy is to achieve a complete cessation of seizures, as they have a devastating effect on the health of the patient and carry the risk of severe injury during such an attack. In addition, seizures have a negative effect on their witnesses and may be accompanied by impaired consciousness, and over the years, against the background of epilepsy, the patient’s mental abilities may deteriorate.
Unfortunately, with all the necessary competent treatment for epilepsy, not all patients receive adequate therapy. This is due, first of all, to the refusal of many people to treat seizures and take antiepileptic drugs because of fear of the harmful effects of drugs on their body.
Can epilepsy be cured?
This is perhaps the most important question that worries both parents of children with epilepsy and adults with this disease. Epilepsy is considered treatable in cases where a person has no seizures for at least 5 years after discontinuation of drugs. According to the generally accepted opinion, the earlier with the help of treatment it is possible to rid the patient of epileptic seizures, the more chances he will have for a complete cure. Or vice versa, if the patient is unable to immediately find the optimal treatment for stopping the attacks, the chances of a complete cure are reduced. The highest probability of cure for seizures is 80% and is present in childhood epilepsy with rolandic peaks and epilepsy with generalized seizures. In other forms, the probability of cure is reduced: in 50% of patients receiving treatment, cure occurs, in 30%, seizures become less frequent and less intense, and in 15-20% of cases, seizures do not respond to drug therapy. When drug therapy is useless, surgical pathways and vagus nerve stimulation can come to the rescue.
When should drug therapy be started?
The sooner treatment is started, the better its outcome. Treatment should be started with absences, partial seizures and frequent generalized convulsive seizures (more than two per year). If the seizures do not stop a year after the start of treatment, it is worth looking for a reason for the treatment.
What are the reasons for the lack of effect of treatment?
The effect of treatment may be absent in the following cases:
– incorrect diagnosis;
– the wrong choice of the drug or its dosage;
– irregular intake of drugs by the patient;
– alcohol abuse;
– disturbed sleep patterns;
– cases when epilepsy is a consequence of a serious brain disease.
What is the cost of drugs?
The cost of treatment depends on what drug was prescribed to the patient, how often he needs to use it and in what doses. Since the treatment of epilepsy is carried out for at least three or more years, and sometimes for life, the cost of the drugs used is quite a significant factor in the treatment for the patient.
It is worth noting that the cost of drugs of less well-known firms of domestic manufacturers differs significantly from large manufacturers of foreign firms, although in fact their effectiveness is almost the same. As a rule, doctors are usually aware of the analogues and the possibilities of replacing one or another drug.
When can drugs be canceled?
A gradual reduction in the dose of drugs takes place only under the guidance of an epileptologist, in the absence of seizures in the patient, for at least a two-year period. If, at a lower dosage, the seizures do not resume, then the patient can gradually be led to complete withdrawal of treatment.