A person who has a seizure for the first time should talk to a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner. The provider will talk to the person about 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 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 provide services such as noninvasive evaluations and the
vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) implantation procedure. Dr. Juan Ramon
Ortega-Barnett, who specializes in the treatment of cranial nerve
disorders, spinal surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, minimally invasive
surgery, neurotrauma and neurovascular surgery, performs 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. Dr.
Ortega-Barnett also has experience in the surgical removal of epileptic
portions of the brain, another service offered by UTMB’s Epilepsy
Center, and has been proven to be highly effective in controlling
seizures, often curing epilepsy without leaving significant neurological