You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner, then you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
It's good to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you or your child has experienced, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment. Make particular note of the different kinds of seizures experienced. For example, do some affect the left side more than the right or vice versa? Do some affect speech and others not?
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you or your child is taking and the dosages used. Write down the reasons any were discontinued, whether because of side effects or lack of effectiveness.
- Ask a family member to come with you to the doctor, because it's not always easy to remember everything you've been told during your appointment. Also, since memory loss can happen during seizures, many times an observer is able to better describe the seizures than is the person who's had the seizures.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For temporal seizure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is the diagnosis epilepsy?
- Will more seizures occur? Will different types of seizures occur?
- What kinds of tests are needed? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Is surgery a possibility?
- Are there any activity restrictions?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Jun. 25, 2011
- When did you or your child begin experiencing symptoms?
- Did you notice any unusual sensations before the seizures?
- How often do the seizures occur?
- Can you describe a typical seizure?
- How long do the seizures last?
- Do the seizures occur in clusters?
- Do they all look the same or are there different seizure behaviors you or others have seen?
- What medications have you or your child tried? What doses were used?
- Have you tried any medication combinations?
- Have you noticed any seizure triggers, such as sleep deprivation or illness?
- Temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/syndromes/temporallobe.cfm. Accessed March 29, 2011.
- FDA warns about potential Topamox related birth defects. FDA Reports. http://www.fda-reports.com/alerts/?p=187. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- FDA: Aseptic meningitis risk with use of seizure drug Lamactil. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm222212.htm. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- Practice parameter update: Management issues for women with epilepsy - Focus on pregnancy (an evidence based review): Teratogenesis and perinatal outcomes. St. Paul, Minn.: American Academy of Neurology. http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/WNL.0b013e3181a6b312v1. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- Shallcross R, et al. Child development following in utero exposure: Levetiracetam vs. sodium valproate. Neurology. 2011;76:383.
- Stafstrom CE, et al. Pathophysiology of seizures and epilepsy. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Seizures and epilepsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm?css=print. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Schachter SC. Evaluation of the first seizure in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Seizure disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec16/ch214/ch214a.html. March 23, 2011.
- Change EF, et al. Predictors of efficacy after stereotactic radiosurgery for medial temporal lobe epilepsy. Neurology. 2010;74:165.