managing your treatment
Care and treatment plans
A care plan is an overview of your epilepsy and its treatment and management. It includes information about your epilepsy and seizures and covers other issues that may be important to you such as education, work, driving, leisure activities and starting a family. You should be offered a care plan, particularly if your epilepsy is recently diagnosed. This might be part of the letter that your specialist will write following an appointment. If you are not offered a care plan you can ask for one.
Part of a care plan includes a treatment (or medication) plan. This sets out how your epilepsy will be treated and usually includes how to start and increase your medication and what to do if it does not work or you have side effects. It might also include other AEDs if you need to change from one to another.
Your care plan is made by you and your specialist together and you might want to involve your family, carers or anyone else important to you who helps you to make decisions about your epilepsy. Developing a plan together means that you can make informed choices about your epilepsy and know what to do if things change. You should be given a copy of the plan which is usually also given to your GP so that they know how to manage your prescriptions. It should be reviewed and updated when needed.
How do I know if treatment is working?
Because the aim of treatment is to stop your seizures, the best way to measure how well it is working is to look at whether your seizures have stopped or you are having fewer seizures. If you have very frequent seizures it might be easy to see quickly if the number of seizures is getting fewer or if they have stopped. But if your seizures were infrequent, it can take longer to see whether the treatment is working.
It might be helpful to keep a seizure diary: a record of your seizures. This may help you to see how many seizures you are having, when they happen, if anything triggers them (brings them on) and if your medication is reducing or stopping them. A seizure diary might be on paper or it might be on your phone or computer. Our free smartphone app contains a seizure diary.
If your treatment does not work or fully control your seizures, there are other treatment options that might be considered.
Managing epilepsy involves monitoring (keeping records of) what medication you take and how it affects you, and when you have seizures and what they are like.
NICE guidelines on epilepsy include recommendations for the drug treatment of different types of seizures.
If you take, or are thinking of taking, medication for your epilepsy, you might have lots of questions. There are people you can talk to.
Strategies and tools are available to help you if you have difficulties taking your medictaion.