Treating Epilepsy with AEDs - Epilepsy Quality of Life

Published: 17 Feb 2020
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Epilepsy Quality of Life Resources. Download the leaflet outlining how AEDs work to control epilepsy symptoms, medications available and how to take them. 

How AEDs work – this section discusses how AEDs physically work, and the importance of taking them exactly as prescribed. For example, if you take too much of your medication or take it too closely together, you may experience more side effects, like drowsiness.


Different forms of AEDs – Anti Epileptic Drugs often come in a tablet form, however they also come in the form of syrups, liquids, sprinkle capsules or soluble tablets.


Finding the right AED – Newer AEDs tend to have fewer side effects than AEDs that have been around for 20-30 years, however there is still a place for older AEDs. A specialist will consider your types of seizures, your medical history, gender and age to determine what specific AED to prescribe to you. They may also prescribe multiple AEDs (polytherapy) if seizures are not appropriately controlled.


Getting the dosage right – To get your body used to the drugs at the start (and to reduce side effects), your doctor will start you off on a low dosage. This will increase over time, and there will be variations from person to person (and especially with children, due to a drastic difference in body weight).


Side Effects – These include, but are not limited to tiredness, drowsiness, lack of concentration and weight gain. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the medication – this can be detected by seeing skin rashes or bruising in unusual places.


Women’s issues – AEDs can interact with the contraceptive pill and reduce its effectiveness. This section also covers family planning and pregnancies.


Missed Dose or overdose – This section discusses what to do when you miss a dose, what to do if you take a small overdose and how to remember to take your medication on time.


Coming off AEDs - Many people may have to take AEDs for a long period or even throughout their lives. Others may only need to take them for a limited time. This depends on a number of factors such as the type or the cause of the epilepsy and seizures.

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