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taking your anti-epileptic drugs

Making sure you are prescribed the same version of your anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) every time can be important for getting the best seizure control. See getting the right medication. There are other things that might help you to get the best out of your AEDs.

Take your AEDs regularly

Taking your AEDs at the same time each day, at regular intervals (for example 7am and 7pm) can help to keep the levels of the drug steady throughout the day. It can be helpful to take your medication at the same time as another regular activity, to help remind you to take them. For example, taking them before you brush your teeth or when you eat breakfast and dinner.

Use a drug wallet or pill box

Using a drug wallet, or pill box, that has a section for each day of the week, may also help you to keep track of when you have taken your medication.

They usually have seven containers to keep medication in (one for each day of the week). Each container is divided into sections for the morning, afternoon and evening. Dispersible tablets (that dissolve in water) can't be stored in drug wallets because they react to the air.

Keep a seizure diary

Keeping a seizure diary can help to keep track of your seizures and see if there is any pattern to when they happen. Diaries can also help your doctors to see whether your medication is working.

See more about seizure diaries.

Use epilepsy apps

Our free smartphone app has information about seizures and first aid, a step-by-step guide to the recovery position and links to a seizure diary. It also has a medication reminder function which you can use with the phone's alarm. It is available on both iPhone and Android phones.

Other tips

  • The patient information leaflet that comes with your AEDs has important information in it, including what side effects to look out for. Many also say what to do if you forget to take your medication or you are sick.
  • If you are prescribed medication for another condition, it is important that the doctor knows that you have epilepsy and about what AEDs you take. This is because some AEDs can affect other medication, and other medication can affect AEDs.
  • If you know what triggers (brings on) your seizures, avoiding these triggers might help to reduce the number of seizures you have. Not everyone has triggers, but they include stress, anxiety and tiredness.
  • Keeping track of your AED supply means that you won’t run out.

If you have any questions about AEDs in general, or the AEDs you are taking, you might like to talk to your GP, pharmacist, neurologist or epilepsy nurse.

Why do I need to keep taking my AEDs if I am not having any seizures?

If you feel well, and you are not having any seizures, this might be because your AEDs are working well. If you stop taking AEDs, your seizures might start again.

If you have two years without any seizures you might want to talk to your neurologist about possibly reducing or coming off your AEDs.

Some people may no longer have a tendency to have seizures and so might not need to keep taking AEDs. But for others, if they stop their AEDs, their seizures start again (because the medication was controlling the seizures). This varies from one person to another, and is something that you could discuss with your neurologist.

Further resources and information

Yellow Card Scheme - The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ensures the safety of medications licensed for use in the UK. The Yellow Card Scheme is a way of reporting side effects to the MHRA, particularly any not listed in the patient information leaflet. You can get a Yellow Card form from your GP, pharmacy, hospital or NHS drop-in centre, by calling 0808 100 3352 or online from the Yellow Card Scheme website (opens new window).