Like most drugs, epilepsy medications can come with a variety of side effects. One of the most common side effects is drowsiness, which can negatively affect daily life. Other potential side effects include rash or severe bruising, nausea, and fever. In some rare cases, epilepsy medication may actually cause more frequent seizures. Alternate treatments may be available. Speak with your doctor about adjusting your medication plan if symptoms make life difficult for you.
5. Psychological Problems
People with epilepsy are more likely to experience emotional problems, including depression and anxiety. Although psychological issues may be present regardless of the condition, the difficulties of dealing with epilepsy are a common factor leading to depression.
6. Pregnancy Dangers
The inherent dangers of seizures make pregnancy even more complicated for expectant mothers with epilepsy. Additionally, some anti-epileptic medications may increase the risk of birth defects. While most women with epilepsy are able to have healthy children, talk to your doctor about your plans to ensure a safe pregnancy.
7. Surgical Complications
When epilepsy is drug-resistant, some patients may turn to surgical treatment, particularly brain surgery. Like any neurological operation, there are risks involved with removing small amounts of brain tissue. While many epilepsy patients can live a normal life after successful surgery, a small percentage may experience minor complications or even fatal problems.
8. Permanent Brain Damage
A specific condition called status epilepticus occurs when you experience a seizure for more than five minutes at a time, or if you have several seizures in a row without gaining complete consciousness in between each attack. Epilepsy patients with status epilepticus have an increased risk of permanent brain damage, which can be fatal.
9. Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)
For epilepsy patients, there is a small risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, or SUDEP. Although no one is certain of the cause of SUDEP, it may be related to heart and respiratory complications. Talk to your doctor about controlling your epilepsy because there is a higher risk of SUDEP when epilepsy is poorly controlled.
Take the Proper Precautions
The complications of epilepsy can be scary. However, if you take proper precautions, follow your treatment plan, and have an ongoing dialogue with your doctor, you can reduce your risks and better manage your condition. Also, engage your friends and family to help you manage your epilepsy and anticipate its necessary precautions.