If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with epilepsy, you may be wondering what medication options are available. Here’s what you need to know about epilepsy medication assistance.
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What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Seizures are periods of abnormal brain activity that can cause a change in consciousness, body movement, or behavior. Epilepsy can affect people of any age, but it is most common in children and older adults. Epilepsy is also more common in certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans. There is no cure for epilepsy, but there are treatments available that can help control seizures.
What are the different types of epilepsy?
There are different types of epilepsy, which are classified according to the person’s age when they first started having seizures, the types of seizures they experience, and by any associated abnormalities in brain electrical activity. The most common type of epilepsy is idiopathic epilepsy, which is characterized by recurrent seizures that have no known cause. Other types of epilepsy include:
What are the causes of epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have seizures. Seizures are sudden changes in behavior due to a brief change in how the brain works. Epilepsy can be caused by many things, including:
-A genetic predisposition (a family history of epilepsy)
-Brain damage from head injury, stroke, or other problems
-Infectious diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis
-Prenatal damage (damage to the brain before birth)
-Drug or alcohol abuse
– Psychoactive drugs
What are the symptoms of epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes seizures. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that can cause changes in your behavior, sensations, and consciousness. Epilepsy may be caused by an abnormal structure in the brain, genetic factors, head injury, or other health conditions.
There are two types of seizures: convulsive (or tonic-clonic) and non-convulsive (or absence). Convulsive seizures are the more common type, characterized by muscle jerking and loss of consciousness. Non-convulsive seizures are less visible, often described as a “blank stare” or “daydreaming.”
Symptoms of epilepsy vary from person to person. Some people with epilepsy only have one seizure in their lifetime, while others have frequent seizures. Some people with epilepsy never have a seizure that is visible to others.
What are the risks of untreated epilepsy?
While medication can help to control seizures, there are risks associated with untreated epilepsy. These risks include:
-Sudden death: Epilepsy is one of the leading causes of sudden death in young people.
-Status epilepticus: This is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a person has a seizure that lasts for more than five minutes or has multiple seizures without regaining consciousness in between.
-Injuries: Seizures can cause injuries, especially if they occur while a person is driving, cooking, swimming, or climbing.
-Pregnancy complications: Women with uncontrolled epilepsy have an increased risk of miscarrying or having a baby with developmental disabilities.
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
Epilepsy is generally diagnosed after someone has had more than one seizure that was not caused by an easily recognizable and reversible medical condition, such as hypoglycemia or drug intoxication. If you have had a seizure, your doctor will likely perform a thorough medical examination and obtain a detailed description of the event from you or someone who witnessed it.
In addition, your doctor may order one or more of the following tests to help diagnose epilepsy or determine the type of seizures you have:
-Blood tests. These tests help rule out disorders that can cause symptoms similar to epilepsy.
-Imaging tests. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomogrophy (CT) scans create detailed pictures of your brain that might reveal a structural abnormality — such as an injury, growth or tumor — that could be responsible for your seizures. An MRI also can show changes in brain activity that might occur before a seizure.
-EEG. This test records your brain waves and can help identify abnormal electrical activity in your brain that might be associated with epileptic seizures. EEG is often done while you sleep because sleep tends to bring out epileptic brainwave patterns.
-Epilepsy surgery evaluation. If other testing doesn’t reveal the cause of your seizures or identify a suitable treatment, you may be referred to a comprehensive epilepsy center for further evaluation for surgery.
What are the treatment options for epilepsy?
There are many different types of epilepsy, and each person experiences the condition differently. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. The goal of treatment is to control seizures and minimize their impact on your life.
There are a number of different options available, and the type of treatment that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the severity and frequency of your seizures, your age, your overall health, and your personal preferences.
Medications are the most common form of treatment for epilepsy. They can be effective in controlling seizures for many people, but they do not work for everyone. If medications do not work or you cannot tolerate the side effects, there are other options available, such as surgery or implanted devices.
Your doctor will work with you to find the treatment option that is best for you.
What are the side effects of epilepsy medication?
Epilepsy medication can cause a variety of side effects. Some are minor and go away on their own, but others can be more serious.
If you’re considering starting epilepsy medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor about all the possible side effects. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks.
Some common side effects of epilepsy medication include:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Diarrhea or constipation
-Weight gain or loss
Rare but serious side effects of epilepsy medication include:
-Depression or suicidal thoughts
-Abnormal bleeding or bruising
If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. They may be able to adjust your dosage or prescribe a different medication.
How can I get help paying for my epilepsy medication?
If you have epilepsy, you know that medication can be expensive. In fact, the average yearly cost of epilepsy medication is $1,200 per person, and some medications can cost more than $30,000 per year. For many people with epilepsy, these costs are simply not affordable.
There are a few programs that can help you pay for your epilepsy medication. The first is the Epilepsy Foundation’s Medication Assistance Program. This program provides financial assistance to people with epilepsy who need help paying for their medication. To be eligible for this program, you must meet certain income requirements and have a prescription for an FDA-approved seizure medication.
Another program that can help you pay for your epilepsy medication is the RxAssist Patient Assistance Program Directory. This directory lists more than 2,500 patient assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. To find programs that might be able to help you pay for your seizure medication, search the directory by drug name or manufacturer.
If you are having trouble paying for your epilepsy medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest other resources that can help you afford your medication.
Where can I find more information about epilepsy?
epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures. A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Epilepsy can occur in people of any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults.
There are many different types of seizures, and they can vary significantly in severity. Some people with epilepsy only have occasional seizures that are relatively mild, while others may have frequent and debilitating seizures that severely impact their quality of life.
There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can be managed with medication and other treatments. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with epilepsy, it is important to find reliable and accurate information about the condition so you can make informed decisions about treatment options.
The Epilepsy Foundation website (www.epilepsyfoundation.org) is a good place to start your research. The website includes information about all aspects of epilepsy, from causes and risk factors to diagnosis and treatment options. You can also find helpful resources for caregivers and families dealing with epilepsy.