Living with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy
While some cases of epilepsy can be treated with medicine alone, drug-resistant epilepsy requires more than medicine to achieve seizure control.
What is drug-resistant epilepsy?
Drug-resistant epilepsy is defined as the failure of two anti-seizure medications to achieve long-term seizure freedom, as long as those medications were appropriately prescribed and properly used. In other words, seizures that continue after trying at least two anti-seizure medications are considered drug-resistant epilepsy.
Drug-resistant epilepsy is also known as refractory epilepsy, hard-to-treat epilepsy and DRE.
Studies have proven that adding more medications is not likely to control this kind of epilepsy.
Goals When Treating Drug-Resistant Epilepsy
While drug-resistant epilepsy can’t be treated by medicine alone, there is hope. If you’ve tried multiple medications, yet continue to have seizures, it’s time to question your seizure treatment. Talk to your doctor about other treatment options available.
Depression, anxiety, and developmental issues
Adverse effects of long-term antiepileptic drug use
Hospital and ER visits
Issues with social interactions
Increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy
Changes with thinking and memory
SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)
SUDEP is the sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy who was otherwise healthy. In SUDEP cases, no other cause of death is found.
SUDEP typically affects 1 in 4500 children with epilepsy or 1 in 1000 adults with epilepsy per year. SUDEP is the sixth leading neurologic cause of death and second only to stroke in years of potential life lost amongst neurological causes in the US.
Uncontrolled seizures are associated with a higher risk of SUDEP. Although it can be upsetting to talk about, discussing the risk of SUDEP with your doctoris critical.