Making epilepsy treatment choices

Many of the people we interviewed said that they did not know enough about anti-epileptic drugs to make informed choices about medication. People often left decisions about drug treatments to their doctors. One woman whose husband had epilepsy reported that, although they were offered choices about drugs, they often wanted the consultant to make these decisions. She also discussed problems with changing from one consultant to another.

One man explained how he had read an article about a particular anti-epileptic drug and requested a change in medication. Other people, who had had neurosurgery for epilepsy, recalled making decisions to go ahead with the operation after weighing up the pros and cons. One woman praised the information and care she was given by consultants, but wondered why she was not offered neurosurgery sooner.

Several people we interviewed said that, as they became more informed about epilepsy, they were better able to make choices, decisions and to ask questions. One woman discussed the changes she wanted to make to her medications, and recommended that patients make treatment decisions with doctors (see 'Finding information on epilepsy').

Some people recalled choosing to alter the dosages of drugs in order to be on the lowest effective dose. One man explained his decision to reduce as much of his anti-epileptic medication as possible under the doctor's supervision. One woman, who was disappointed with taking several anti-epileptic drugs, discussed how she lowered the dosages herself, although this is not recommended.

Some women discussed how they and their doctors decided to change drugs or dosages because of pregnancy (see 'Women and epilepsy'). One woman explained how she monitored her husband's drugs and how they made treatment decisions together with doctors.

Last reviewed May 2016.
Last updated March 2014.


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