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Talking to Your Doctor About Epilepsy

Talk with your doctor about epilepsy. Talking openly and often with your doctor can help you make the best choices.

Tips for Talking to Your Doctor

Here are some tips that will help:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have one more person hear what is said and think of things to ask.
  • Write your questions so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need to.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find out more. You have a right to know.

Some Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Epilepsy

  • What causes it?
  • Does having a seizure mean that I have it?
  • What are the health problems that could happen?
  • Can it cause death?

About Your Risk of Getting Epilepsy

  • Can I lower my risk?
  • One of my parents has epilepsy. Does that mean I will get it too?

About Treatment

  • Is medicine the best way to treat my epilepsy?
  • Will I have to take it for the rest of my life?
  • How will it help? What side effects might happen?
  • Medicine is not helping me. Are there other things I can try?
  • When should I think about surgery as a choice?
  • Can surgery cause other problems with my brain?
  • What is the success rate?
  • Which surgery is best for me?
  • What are the health problems I could have from it?
  • Are there any other therapies that I should think about getting?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Are there things that I do that I may have to stop doing?
  • What are the rules about driving? Will I be able to drive?
  • Will I be able to work?
  • Do I have to tell my boss?
  • Is it safe for me to get pregnant?
  • Is it okay to take birth control pills and seizure medicine?
  • Will my seizure medicine cause problems with my other medicines?

About Outlook

  • How well does medicine control epilepsy?
  • Can I live a normal life on medicine?
  • Can I live a normal life after surgery?
  • Are there support groups for people and their loved ones?
REFERENCES:

Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115086/Epilepsy-in-adults. Updated November 9, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900174/Epilepsy-in-children. Updated March 22, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Epilepsy-Information-Page. Updated June 18, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The epilepsies: the diagnosis and management of the epilepsies in adults and children in primary and secondary care. NICE 2012 Jan:CG137.

Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated June 19, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2019.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 3/26/2019