1What should I do if my child gets seizures?
• Do not panic. Make him/her lie down on any one side.
• Remove all sharp objects/ glasses from surrounding. Loosen clothing.
• Time the seizure, keep emergency medicine ready
• Do not put anything in mouth till he is fully conscious
• Do not restrain forcefully, this may cause injuries.
• If possible video the event, especially if doctor has asked for it.
• In case the seizure goes on for 2-3 minutes, use emergency medicine prescribed by your doctor.
• If seizure continues despite the emergency medicine or the child suffers injuries or there is a long recovery time, take the child to the nearest hospital.
• Follow the plan given by your doctor like increasing medicine or doing blood levels in case of further seizures
2What are the different types of seizures?
There are two main types of seizure: focal seizures (sometimes called partial seizures) and generalised seizures. The manifestations of seizures can be varied and include:
• Sudden jerking and/or stiffening of the entire/one side of body
• Daydreaming/blank spells (absence seizures)
• Abnormal behaviour/ funny hand and lip movements
• Unusual sensations such as fear/ strange taste /odour, or a rising feeling in the stomach.
• Excessive startling
• Eye deviation to 1 side, inability to see
During a seizure, the patient may be aware of what is happening or may be unconscious. Seizures can occur in sleep as well as wake state. Patient may remain drowsy or feel exhausted or confused or complain of headache after a seizure
3What are common seizure triggers?
Common seizure triggers are forgetting to take your medicine, sleep deprivation, illness or severe physical/mental exertion.
4What if I forget to give the medicine?
Give it as soon as you remember. However if it is more than 6-8 hours past and the next dose time has arrived,you need not give the 2 doses very close as this can lead to side effects like excessive drowsiness.
5Should I take the medicine before or after food?
Medicines can be given anytime in relation to meals unless your doctor has specified. It is not always necessary to give medicines after meals exception being steroids.
6My child has put on weight. Should I increase the dose?
If seizures are well controlled, there is no routine need of modifying doses with weight change.
7Will my child sleep in school if I give medicine before the school?
For a couple of weeks on commencement of treatment, your child may sleep more but this side effect will go away with time.
8Can I give any other medicine if my child is on antiepileptic medicines?
Though most medicines can be given, you need extra caution when using certain antibiotics (Anti TB drugs, Erythromycin etc) along with enzyme inducing medicines (Carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbitone)
9Can I change the medicine to another brand?
Ideally brands should not be changed due to varying bio availability which can at times trigger seizures.
10My child has got a rash after taking this medicine, what should I do?
You should report to the doctor immediately as certain medicines can cause severe allergic response which can at time be life threatening as well. A different medicine may be started.
11My child is on multiple drugs, can he take all together?
Medicines can be taken together. However to avoid excessive drowsiness, a few hours gap in between 2 drugs is advisable.
12Should I stop the medicine if fits are controlled for few weeks/months? Or will the treatment go on lifelong?
Even if seizures are controlled for few months, medicines need to be continued for 2 to 4 years or longer as advised by your doctor depending upon the underlying epilepsy syndrome/disorder. Exception can be in case of steroids. Lifelong treatment is not needed for all epilepsies with few exceptions.
13My child is on regular medicines but he is still getting seizures. What should I do next?
You need to consult your doctor as it is possible that either the dose is inadequate or a second medicine needs to be tried. A third of epilepsy cases do not respond to the first medicine and need to be tried on 2nd/3rd drug.
14Can I send my child for school trip when on anti seizure drugs?
Yes all activities including school trip should be allowed while on medicines. Extra care with close supervision should be taken for certain activities like swimmimg, cycling, trekking etc. It is best to inform your school and other care givers about his epilepsy.
15When should I come for follow up?
Depending on the severity of the seizures, follow up can vary from 15 days to 6 months as advised by your doctor.
16What extra care should I take for my child with epilepsy?
a. Ensure that he/she takes medicines regularly
b. An adequate sleep of 8-10 hours depending on age is essential.
c. Do not overprotect or restrict his activities/food habits. At same time, close supervision is needed for swimming, cycling and other risky activities.
d. Maintain a seizure diary for count of seizures, triggers and change in medicines.
e. Please keep the school and all care givers well informed about his epilepsy, emergency care plan and whom to contact in case of emergency.