Which Epilepsy Medication Is Right for Me?

Your doctor and care team will help you decide which medications are right for you. The choice is based on many factors.

Types of seizures Age Gender Other medical conditions Other medications Medication side effects

The right medication for you

Types of seizure
Other medical conditions
Other medications
Medication side effects

There is no single antiseizure medication (ASM) or combination of ASMs that is right for everyone. Every person’s epilepsy treatment is different. You may need to try:

  • Different ASMs to find out which one works for you
  • A combination of ASMs if a single one doesn’t work
  • Different ASMs if you have side effects that bother you
For some ASMs, your doctor might order blood tests to see how much of the medication is in your blood. Blood tests can help the doctor decide if an ASM is working for you.

Surgery for Epilepsy

People with epilepsy may have different types of brain surgery (also called neurosurgery) to stop or reduce their seizures.

  • One kind of surgery involves removing a specific area of the brain thought to cause the seizures
  • Another kind involves separating the part of the brain causing the seizures from the rest of the brain
Surgery may be an option for you if:
  • You have tried several epilepsy medications and none of them have stopped or reduced seizures
  • Your cause of epilepsy can be found in a specific area of your brain where surgery is possible (brain scans like CT and MRI help find these areas)

About 50% of people
who have certain kinds of surgery are still
seizure-free 10 years later
(though most of them will
still take their anti-seizure medications)

There are always risks that come with any surgery. If you talk to your doctor about epilepsy surgery, they will help you make the best decision. Talking to your doctor about the tests you may need to take, what happens in surgery, and what you can expect, will help you reach a decision.


Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

VNS is another type of surgery meant to lessen the amount of seizures you have that can’t be controlled with medications. It uses a device to trigger the vagus nerve with electrical signals.

Vagus nerves are:
  • On each side of your body (2 nerves), running from your brain through your neck and down to your chest and abdomen
  • Connected to parts of the brain involved in seizures

When activated, the device sends electrical signals along the left vagus nerve to your brainstem, which then sends signals to certain areas in your brain.

Most people with epilepsy won't stop having seizures completely; however, people who get VNS surgery may have
up to 50% fewer seizures.

Talk to your doctor about VNS and see if it could benefit you.

Medical words can sound confusing, but this Healthcare Lingo Info Sheet can help