Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. The nerve cells in the brain do not communicate normally during a seizure. The brain’s normal electrical activity is disrupted. These convulsions might last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.
About a third of those with epilepsy will develop refractory epilepsy at some point. This means that drugs don’t manage seizures very well, if at all.
Refractory epilepsy is a type of epilepsy that is resistant to treatment. Epilepsy that is refractory can have a significant impact on your life. Refractory epilepsy might cause problems at work or in education. They might be concerned about when their next seizure will occur. They could also sustain injuries as a result of the seizures. If your doctor suspects you have refractory epilepsy, he or she may refer you to an epilepsy-focused medical center.
These are the signs and symptoms of a seizure:
- Shaking movements, or convulsions
- Consciousness loss
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Staring off towards the distance
- Muscle stiffness
You may have refractory epilepsy if you still have seizures when using an antiepilepsy medication.
Seizures come in a variety of forms.
The sort of seizures you have may alter your therapy if you have refractory epilepsy. Seizures can be caused by:
- Generalized primary. This means they affect a large portion of your brain tissue on both sides.
- Seizures that are partial (focal). This means that seizure activity may begin in a small area of your brain and then extend to a larger area later.
Doctors can diagnose refractory epilepsy in a variety of ways. Many inquiries about your seizures will most likely be asked by your doctor. An electroencephalogram will very certainly be performed on you. Electrodes are placed on your scalp to assess the activity of your brain. A CT or MRI scan of your brain may be recommended by your doctor. If you need surgery to fix the problem, your doctor may perform more tests like these to figure out where your seizures are coming from.
To find out if you have this problem, you’ll need to work closely with your doctor. Before your doctor believes your illness is refractory, you may need to suffer more seizures while taking many medications. Your doctor may request that you visit him or her on a frequent basis to report your problems. Your doctor may test a variety of medicines in various dosages.
Your doctor may advise you to take another antiepileptic medication, either alone or in combination with others. Medications include the following:
If medications aren’t working, your doctor may advise the following options:
- Surgery. If you have refractory partial epilepsy, surgery may be extremely beneficial. If you still suffer seizures after taking two or three antiepilepsy medications, your doctor may suggest surgery. The doctor will remove the area of your brain that is causing the seizures during the treatment.
- Stimulation using electricity. Your doctor may recommend vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with an implanted device if you can’t or don’t want brain surgery. The gadget is attached to the vagus nerve in your neck by wires that are implanted beneath your skin in the chest area. It provides a current to the nerve, which may help you have fewer seizures. It may also assist to decrease the intensity of an already-started seizure.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions when using medications. Using your antiepilepsy medications correctly will help them operate more effectively to regulate your condition.
Taking care of refractory epilepsy
A ketogenic diet, often known as a low-carbohydrate diet, may help you control your seizures. This diet is characterized by a high-fat content and a low carbohydrate content. If you stick to this diet, you’ll need to work closely with your doctor and take nutritional supplements as needed.