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Tip Sheet: Successful Epilepsy Treatment

Taking a prescribed epilepsy drug is just the start. You can do plenty more to make sure your treatment works for you.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

What can you do to improve your epilepsy treatment? Plenty. WebMD asked the experts for some advice.

  • Take an active role. You need to be more than a patient. Be an active participant in your health care. Learn about epilepsy and its treatments. Know the names and doses of your medicines. Ask your health care provider questions.
  • Take your medicine as prescribed. Your medicine won't help if you don't take it. If you have trouble remembering, buy a pillbox with spaces for each dose. Use alarms on your watch, cell phone, or computer to remind you. Ask your doctor if you should take any precautions, such as taking your pills with or without food, or in the morning or at night.
  • Don't run low on your medication. Get in the habit of requesting drug refills several days before you'll run out.
  • Store your medicines safely. Keep all medicines safely away from young children and pets. Don't keep your medicines in direct sunlight or in humid places, such as bathrooms.
  • Be careful when starting a new medicine. Take precautions, since you don't know how a new medicine will affect you. Don't drive until you're comfortable with the drug's effects.
  • Take care of yourself. "Living a healthy life is important too," says John M. Pellock, MD, spokesman for the American Epilepsy Society and chairman of child neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Get enough sleep and stay healthy. Women should be on folic acid and vitamins." Also, ask your doctor if it's safe to drink alcohol when using your medicines.
  • Know what to do when you miss a dose. Everyone will forget a dose from time to time. But make sure you know what to do. Do not double-up on a dose unless your health care provider specifically tells you to.
  • Be honest with your doctor. Don't lie about missing doses. If you're not taking your medicine and your health care provider doesn't realize it, he or she might increase the dose. That could lead to side effects.