Ketogenic diets can be an effective way of treating seizures in people with LGS. Most seizures in LGS don’t respond well to usual seizure medicines and side effects can be hard to tolerate. Dietary treatments can often lead to reduction in seizures in people with LGS and possibly allow for reduction in seizure medication doses (or even discontinuation of some). The dietary therapies discussed here have been tested in children and adults with difficult to control seizures, while other diets have not undergone this type of testing to our knowledge. Any dietary therapy should be prescribed and monitored by appropriate health care providers with experience in epilepsy.
How well do diet therapies work for seizures in people with LGS?
Most studies of the ketogenic diet are focusing on children with intractable, symptomatic generalized epilepsy. LGS is one of the most common forms of this type of epilepsy. Deciding to start a patient with LGS on dietary therapy is a big decision and should be discussed at length with your neurologist.
- A study of 20 children with LGS were evaluated using a randomized and blinded approach to ketogenic diet versus a control (ketogenic diet with glucose) in a crossover design for 12 days. Despite its small size, this study showed that children on the ketogenic diet have a substantial decrease in seizures that lasted even months after the study.
- A review of experiences from Johns Hopkins Ketogenic Diet Clinic evaluated 71 children with LGS who had been treated with the ketogenic diet. Seizures improved by over 50% in 51% of children and by over 90% in 23%.
- The same study reviewed 18 other studies that included 189 children with LGS.. On average, 47% of the children had a 50% decrease in seizure frequency and 16% children became seizure free using the ketogenic diet. Both findings suggest that about half of patients with LGS will respond to dietary therapies.