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Epilepsy: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Epilepsy is a common condition that causes repeated seizures. The seizures are caused by bursts of electrical activity in the brain that aren't normal. Seizures may cause problems with muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness. They can be scary.

Epilepsy affects each person differently. Some people have only a few seizures. Others get them more often. If you know what triggers a seizure, you may be able to avoid having one.

You can take medicines to control and reduce seizures. It may take time and careful changes by you and your doctor to find the right combination, schedule, and dose of medicine to best manage your epilepsy.

Seizures may continue and become worse and more frequent over time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Make a treatment plan with your doctor. Be sure to follow your plan.
  • Try to identify and avoid things that may make you more likely to have a seizure, such as:
    • Not getting enough sleep.
    • Using drugs or alcohol.
    • Being emotionally stressed.
    • Skipping meals.
  • Keep a record of any seizures you have. Note the date, time of day, and any details about the seizure that you can remember. Your doctor can use this information to plan or adjust your medicine or other treatment.
  • Be sure that any doctor treating you for another condition knows that you have epilepsy and knows what medicines you are taking, if any.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet. You can buy this at most pharmacies. If you have a seizure that leaves you unconscious or unable to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet will let those who are treating you know that you have epilepsy.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to do certain activities, such as drive or swim.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • A seizure does not stop as it normally does.
  • You have new symptoms such as:
    • Numbness, tingling, or weakness on one side of your body or face.
    • Vision changes.
    • Trouble speaking or thinking clearly.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have a severe headache.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The normal pattern or features of your seizures change.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.