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How to Prevent Epilepsy

Find out how to prevent epilepsy from Steve Wolf, MD and Patty McGoldrick, NP in this Howcast video.


- Steve Wolf:The most common question parents ask is, "How do I prevent my child or my sibling from having a seizure?" And that's a tough question to answer.

- Patty McGoldrick:It is. I don't know if you can really prevent epilepsy. You can, if a person's been diagnosed, prevent seizures. Not always, but some of the time, there are certain things that you can do. Like making sure they get enough sleep, that they don't miss any medication or they don't take the medications late, and that they're not drinking alcohol or using any other illicit drugs that can lower the seizure threshold.

- Steve:There are some medications that can trigger seizures, and I think it's important for you if you're taking any other medications to discuss that with your doctor. There are certain psychiatric medications that can trigger epilepsy, and even some blood pressure medications. So, I think it's important to have a conversation with your doctor if you're taking anything else that's not an anti-seizure medication with it.

- Patty:Right. That, as well as the question about timing of the medications. How often you give them? What happens? What do you do? You should ask your doctor what happens if you miss a dose. Do you take it late? Do you double up on the next dose? Those are all important things to ask the doctor.

- Steve:And stomach problems.So, patients who are on antacids or other GI medications, if patients have vomiting and diarrhea, that also can affect the levels.

- Patty:Right. Patients with colostomies can affect the levels. People with renal failure and kidney disease, that can also can affect the levels of medications.

- Steve:Even alternative medications. There are some vitamins and herbs that have been known to interfere with the absorption of medications.

- Patty:And to lower the seizure threshold.

- Steve:So, basically, you can prevent seizures by getting plenty of sleep, eating well, taking your medications at a regular time. If you're going to sleep late, set your alarm to get up, take the pills, and go back to sleep. And really have a discussion with your doctor about what other medications you're on to make sure that there are no interactions. This will really be the best way to prevent you from having seizures.

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