The majority of people can become seizure-free by taking suitable antiepileptic medication. Today, there is a wide range of drugs with different active agents which can be used to treat epilepsy. Your physician decides which drugs should be chosen and in what dosage, taking into account the form of epilepsy diagnosed, potential concomitant diseases or interactions with other drugs. Combination therapy involving various different active agents may be required.
To find out which drugs are most effective, the patient should document the course of the disease in a seizure diary as each antiepileptic drug's efficacy must be tested individually in each patient's case.
Approximately 70% of all epilepsy patients can become seizure-free by taking medication. The therapy's continued success is dependent on the regular use of the prescribed medication. Patients must not change the dosage without consulting their physician first. If patients would like to resort to other treatment options because of unpleasant side effects, they should discuss this with their physician.
For a small number of patients, medication therapy is not feasible due to unacceptable side effects or insufficient seizure freedom – these forms of epilepsy are referred to as being drug-resistant. There are further therapy options available for patients with these forms of epilepsy.
The stimulation of a particular nerve which can also help suppress seizures is another alternative option if surgery is not possible.
The efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation is based on the electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve and is intended to suppress epileptic seizures.
The stimulator itself is a device which can be compared with a pacemaker. It is implanted below the collar bone beneath the skin and is connected with the vagus nerve via an electrode in the neck area.
Quite often, vagus nerve stimulation helps patients in whose case surgery is not an option, such as patients who have several epileptic foci or a focus in an area which is not accessible to a neurosurgeon.
These procedures are likewise performed in the neurosurgery unit of the Department of Neurosurgery.