Feature Archive

Epilepsy Treatments: Finding the Right Medication

Could your treatment for epilepsy be better? A guide to medications to help you and your doctor decide.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

Epilepsy treatment has come a long way in the last 15 years. Today, many new and effective anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are on the market. Though there's no cure, the prognosis for most of the 2 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. is quite good. Up to 80% of people can control their condition with medicine.

But dozens of epilepsy drugs can make things confusing. How do you know if you're getting the right one? Are there better epilepsy treatment options out there that you don't know about?

"The number of choices can seem almost staggering to people," says John M. Pellock, MD, spokesperson for the American Epilepsy Society and chairman of Child Neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Experts say that many people with epilepsy do settle for treatment that could be better. They stick with the medicine -- or medicines -- they're familiar with, even if they're not working that well.

"A lot of people with epilepsy are using medications that aren't right for them," says Orrin Devinsky, MD, director of the New York University Epilepsy Center. "They're having side effects and medical problems that they don't need to have."