Advanced Treatments for Childhood Epilepsy: Beyond Antiseizure Medications | Epilepsy and Seizures | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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January 2013

Advanced Treatments for Childhood Epilepsy: Beyond Antiseizure Medications

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(1):76-83. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.424

A substantial minority of children with epilepsy have continued seizures despite adequate trials of standard antiseizure medications. To maximize seizure control and thereby optimize their neurodevelopmental outcomes, alternate nonmedication therapies should be considered for these patients. Dietary therapies, including the ketogenic diet and its variations, have been available for years. With a recent resurgence in popularity and expansion of indications, these treatments can lead to freedom from seizures or a significantly reduced seizure burden for a large number of patients. For carefully selected individuals, resective epilepsy surgery may offer the best hope for a cure. For others, palliation may be achieved through additional surgical approaches, such as corpus callosotomy and multiple subpial transections, or through neurostimulation techniques, such as the vagus nerve stimulator. In this review, we present these nonmedication approaches to treatment-resistant childhood epilepsy, with attention to patient selection and the potential risks and benefits.