A person who has a seizure for the first time should talk to a health care provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner. The provider will ask the person what happened, and look for the cause of the seizure. Many people who have seizures take tests such as brain scans for a closer look at what is going on. The most important step is to speak with your provider.
There are many things a provider and a person with epilepsy can do to stop or lessen seizures. The most common treatments for epilepsy are:
- Medicine. Anti-seizure drugs are medicines that limit the spread of seizures in the brain. A health care provider will change the amount of the medicine or prescribe a new drug if needed to find the best treatment plan. Medicines work for about 2 in 3 people with epilepsy.
- Surgery. When seizures come from a single area of the brain (focal seizures), surgery to remove that area may stop future seizures or make them easier to control with medicine. Epilepsy surgery is mostly used when the seizure focus is located in the temporal lobe of the brain.
- Other treatments. When medicines do not work and surgery is not possible, other treatments can help. These include vagus nerve stimulation, where an electrical device is placed, or implanted, under the skin on the upper chest to send signals to a large nerve in the neck.
Sometimes we can prevent epilepsy. These are some of the most common ways to reduce your risk of developing epilepsy:
- Have a healthy pregnancy. Some problems during pregnancy and childbirth may lead to epilepsy. Follow a prenatal care plan with your health care provider to keep you and your baby healthy.
- Prevent brain injuries.
- Lower the chances of stroke and heart disease.
- Be up-to-date on your vaccinations.
- Wash your hands and prepare food safely to prevent infections
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy
UTMB provides services such as noninvasive evaluations and the
vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) implantation procedure. Surgeons who specialize in the treatment of cranial nerve
disorders, spinal surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, minimally invasive
surgery, neurotrauma and neurovascular surgery, perform VNS Therapy® as
a day surgery procedure. The procedure is designed to prevent seizures by sending regular,
mild pulses of energy to the brain via the vagus nerve.