Epilepsy Treatment

There are many different types of anti-epileptic drugs. The drugs you need will depend on the type of seizures that you have, and how well controlled your epilepsy is. Some people will need only one drug to control their epilepsy; others might need more than one.

Anti-epileptic medications prevent and reduce the number of seizures, as well as decrease the intensity. Doctors may not recommend starting these drugs until you have had at least two seizures. This is a requirement as they need to make sure that the initial seizure was not an isolated event.

However, in other cases an anti-epileptic medication can be given after a single seizure. This would be relevant if you are at high risk of having a second seizure or if you are at high risk of getting an injury caused by the fit.

Starting on medication early helps reduce the risk of another seizure and is generally safe. Many people, however, don’t like taking medication daily and some medication can cause side effects. Do not change the dose or stop taking your medication unless it has been recommended by your doctor. 


Anti-epileptic drugs are necessary for controlling and alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy. They are the main form of treatment but should only be used once a diagnosis of epilepsy is confirmed. 

Take your medication exactly as prescribed at the right times, and at the right doses. Ask your doctor about what side-effects you can expect and what to do about them. Even if you develop uncomfortable side effects, don't stop taking your anti-epileptic medication without speaking to your doctor first. Be careful not to let your prescription run out. Stopping anti-epileptic medication abruptly can put you at risk of seizures.

While taking anti-epileptic medication, don't start taking any other medication including over-the-counter medication and traditional herbal drinks without first consulting with your doctor. Anti-epileptic medication can interact with other drugs, over-the-counter medication and herbal concoctions. Mixing them can be dangerous.


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Thijs RD, Surges R, O'Brien TJ, Sander JW. Epilepsy in adults. Lancet. 2019 Feb 16;393(10172):689-701.

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