Nonpharmacological treatment of epilepsy.

Author: Saxena VS, Nadkarni VV.
Affiliation: Department of Neurology, Gita Bhawan Hospital and Research Centre, Indore, India.
Conference/Journal: Ann Indian Acad Neurol.
Date published: 2011 Jul
Other: Volume ID: 14 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 148-52 , Word Count: 206


Nonpharmacological treatment of epilepsy includes surgery, vagal nerve stimulation, ketogenic diet, and other alternative/complementary therapies, e.g., yoga, Ayurveda, electroencephalography (EEG) biofeedback technique, aerobic exercise, music therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, acupuncture, and herbal remedies (traditional Chinese medicine). Alternative therapies, despite the term, should not be considered as an alternative to antiepileptic medication; they complement accepted drug treatment. Alternative therapies like yoga, through techniques that relax the body and mind, reduce stress, improve seizure control, and also improve quality of life. Ketogenic diet is a safe and effective treatment for intractable epilepsies; it has been recommended since 1921. The diet induces ketosis, which may control seizures. The most successful treatment of epilepsy is with modern antiepileptic drugs, which can achieve control of seizures in 70-80% cases. Patients opt for alternative therapies because they may be dissatisfied with antiepileptic drugs due to their unpleasant side effects, the long duration of treatment, failure to achieve control of seizures, cultural beliefs and, in the case of women, because they wish to get pregnant Surgical treatment may lead to physical and psychological sequelae and is an option only for a minority of patients. This article presents supportive evidence from randomized controlled trials done to assess the benefit of non-pharmacological treatment.

PMID: 22028523

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