Medicine is the most common way of treating epilepsy and is almost always the first treatment tried.

There are many different medicines that can prevent or stop seizures. These are sometimes called anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) or anti-seizure drugs. They will successfully control seizures for about 7 out of 10 people with epilepsy.

Some medicines tend to work better for certain kinds of seizures than for others. If one medicine fails, another may work better. A combination of medications may be tried too. The medications don’t fix the problem that causes seizures. Instead they work to stop seizures from occurring.

This section provides in-depth information on epilepsy medications and how to use them. It’s important to talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of the different seizure medicines available to treat your kind of epilepsy.

Important Information

When to Seek Specialty Care

If your seizures are difficult to control, meaning you continue to have seizures after one year or after two anti-seizure medications have been tried, we recommend seeking more specialized care.

Epilepsy centers provide a team approach to caring for people with seizures and epilepsy. Testing is available to diagnose whether a person has seizures and the type of epilepsy they may have. Epilepsy experts can help explore all treatment options, including new or add-on seizure medications, surgery, devices, dietary therapy, or a clinical trial.

The goal is to get the best seizure control possible.

Authored By: 
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN
Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Authored Date: 
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN
Reviewed Date: 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014