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When you bring your child to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital for epilepsy care, you can expect a treatment plan that is unique to your child's needs. After conducting a comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic testing, we determine the best treatment options for your child. Our expert, multidisciplinary team collaborates to develop an individualized treatment plan with the goal of effectively and efficiently controlling your child’s seizures with as few side effects as possible.
Parents know their children better than anyone else. As your child’s parent or guardian, you are part of our team and we welcome your input and opinions throughout the evaluation and treatment process. We want you to fully understand the treatment plan we are recommending for your child as well as all of the options that are available.
We also consider other important criteria, such as:
Medication is the most common treatment for epilepsy. It is almost always the first line of treatment for children who have epilepsy. When we're able to determine the cause and type of epilepsy and the type of seizure, we use medication specifically suited to your child's seizures. We start by prescribing the lowest dosage of medication that effectively controls seizures.
During treatment, we regularly check medication levels and monitor the medication’s effectiveness to make sure the treatment is working as intended. If necessary, we change the dosage depending on levels and symptoms. We use a number of tests to determine whether your child’s medications are working well. These tests include:
For some children, we recommend a medical diet, called a ketogenic diet, to help control seizures when medication alone is not working. Ketogenic diets have been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s, and have become more frequently prescribed since the 1990s. Despite the effectiveness and a relatively low occurrence of serious side effects, parents should not start a child on this medical diet without specific recommendation, instruction and supervision from the child's neurologist.
Surgery usually is not the first option for children who have epilepsy. However, we may recommend surgery when medications are not effectively controlling a child's seizures. For children who meet certain medical criteria, we offer a full range of surgical treatment options for pediatric epilepsy.
Sometimes we recommend physical and/or occupational therapy for children who have epilepsy. If your child has trouble with physical or motor skills, our team will work together to come up with a plan to help your child improve function and get stronger.