People with common neurological conditions, including seizures, tend to use complementary and alternative medicine more often than those who don't have these conditions. People with seizures may use:
- Herbal medicines
- Mind-body techniques
Researchers are looking into these therapies, hoping to determine their safety and effectiveness, but good evidence is mostly still lacking. There is some evidence that a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet may be effective, particularly for children.
Many people with epilepsy use herbal remedies in particular. However, there is little evidence for their effectiveness and some can cause increased risk of seizures. Some specific remedies include:
- Marijuana (cannabis). Current evidence does not show that cannabis is useful for treating epilepsy. However, little data are available and research into its usefulness is ongoing. It's important to let your doctor know if you are using cannabis.
- Huperzine A. Research shows promise for an herbal remedy called huperzine A, but more studies are needed.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal products, and they can interact with other anti-epileptic drugs you take, putting your health at risk. Make sure to talk with your doctor before taking any herbal or dietary supplements for your seizures.
July 03, 2013
- Seizures and epilepsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Frontal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/syndromes/frontallobeepilepsy.cfm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- LaFrance WC Jr, et al. Differentiating frontal lobe epilepsy from psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Neurologic Clinics. 2011;29:149.
- Benbadis SR. Localization-related (partial) epilepsy: Causes and clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- O'Muircheartaigh J, et al. Epilepsy and the frontal lobes. Cortex. 2012;48:144.
- Surges R, et al. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: Mechanisms, prevalence, and prevention. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2012;25:201.
- Leach JP, et al. Modern management of epilepsy. Clinical Medicine. 2013;13:84.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Hirsch LJ, et al. Video and ambulatory EEG monitoring in the diagnosis of seizures and epilepsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Englot DJ, et al. Rates and predictors of long-term seizure freedom after frontal lobe epilepsy surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2012;116:1042.
- Wiebe S, et al. Epilepsy surgery utilization: Who, when, where, and why? Current Opinion in Neurology. 2012;25:187.
- Lazow SP, et al. Outcome of frontal lobe epilepsy surgery. Epilepsia. 2012;53:1746.
- Morrell MJ, et al. Responsive cortical stimulation for the treatment of medically intractable partial epilepsy. Neurology 2011;77:1295.
- Prunettia P, et al. New and forthcoming anti-epileptic drugs. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2011;24:159.
- eCommunities. Epilepsy Foundation. http://epilepsyfoundation.ning.com/. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Living with epilepsy. Epilepsy.com. http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/living_epilepsy. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Wells RE, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use among U.S. adults with common neurological conditions. Journal of Neurology. 2010;257:1822.
- Schachter SC. Complementary and alternative medical therapies. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2008;21:184.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0434-1..C2009-0-40427-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0434-1&uniqId=364938937-2. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Nicoll D, et al. Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=56995240. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Devinsky O, et al. Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy. New York, N.Y.: Demos Medical Publishing; 2012.
- Levy RG, et al. Ketogenic diet and other dietary treatments for epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001903.pub2/abstract. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Gloss D, et al. Cannabinoids for epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009270.pub2/abstract. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Wyllie E, et al. Wyllie's Treatment of Epilepsy. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:771.
- Scheffer IE, et al. Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. Brain. 1995;118:61.
- Sirven JI (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz. April 25, 2013.
- Wang A, et al. Functional magnetic resonance imaging for language mapping in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Research and Treatment. 2012;2012:198183.
- Von Oertzen TJ, et al. Prospective use of subtraction ictal SPECT coregistered to MRI (SISCOM) in presurgical evaluation of epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2011;52:2239.
- Miller RD, et al. Miller's Anesthesia. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06959-8..X0001-5&isbn=978-0-443-06959-8&uniqId=410621892-4#4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06959-8..X0001-5--TOP. Accessed May 7, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.