Epilepsy - what to ask your doctor - adult

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Definition

You have epilepsy. People with epilepsy have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical activity in your brain. It leads to brief unconsciousness and uncontrollable body movements.

Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of yourself.

Alternative Names

What to ask your doctor about epilepsy - adult; Seizures - what to ask your doctor - adult; Seizure - what to ask your doctor

Questions

Should I call you, or someone else, every time I have a seizure?

What safety measures do I need to take at home to prevent injuries when I have a seizure?

Is it OK for me to drive? Where can I call to find more information about driving and epilepsy?

What should I discuss with my boss at work about my epilepsy?

  • Are there work activities that I should avoid?
  • Will I need to rest during the day?
  • Will I need to take medicines during the work day?

Are there any sports activities that I should not do? Do I need to wear a helmet for any type of activities?

Do I need to wear a medical alert bracelet?

  • Who else should know about my epilepsy?
  • Is it ever OK for me to be alone?

What do I need to know about my seizure medicines?

  • What medicines am I taking? What are the side effects?
  • Can I take antibiotics or other medicines also? How about acetaminophen (Tylenol), vitamins, herbal remedies? Will birth control pills still work if I am taking medicines for my seizures?
  • What are the risks of these medicines if I were to get pregnant?
  • How should I store the seizure medicines?
  • What happens if I miss one or more doses?
  • Can I ever stop taking a seizure medicine if there are side effects?
  • Can I drink alcohol with my medicines?

How often do I need to see the provider? When do I need blood tests?

What should I do if I am having trouble sleeping at night?

What are the signs that my epilepsy is becoming worse?

What should others with me do when I am having a seizure? After the seizure is over, what should they do? When should they call the provider? When should we call 911?

References

Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 101.

Falcone T, Palombaro AM. Quality of life with epilepsy. In: Wyllie E, ed. Wyllie's Treatment of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2015:chap 95.

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