Managing medications on a ketogenic diet

Posted by Wendy Burgess PharmD @burgesswendy1, Jul 20, 2018

A ketogenic diet helps reduce seizures for some children with seizure disorders. This high fat, very low-carbohydrate diet helps release chemicals called ketones, which disrupt seizure activity in the brain. Research has shown that the ketogenic diet helps from one-half to three-fourths of children who follow it.
But, the ketogenic diet is challenging. Meal plans must be followed exactly. Breads, pastas, cereals, crackers, and candy are off limits because of high carbohydrates. The diet does include butter, cheese, whipping cream, mayonnaise, meat, poultry, fish and non-starchy vegetables. Very small amounts of fruit and non-starchy vegetables are permissible.

But there’s another consideration: medications. Medications have carbs, enough to upset the careful balance needed in this diet. A single dose of Children's Tylenol can contain nearly 4,000 milligrams of carbohydrates, which could lead to increased seizure activity in children following this diet.

When your child needs a new medication or when a medication formulation has changed, a pharmacist should be able to verify the carb count so adjustments can be made to your child’s diet.

Have you ever had to track the amount of carbohydrates in medications and why? Where did you find the carbohydrate information and was it easily accessible?

Welcome to Connect, @burgesswendy1. Great to have your expertise here. I’m tagging a few other members who have mentioned managing epilepsy with a ketogenic diet, such as @clairesmom @ketomom and @mmas. I think @cbranson3, might also be interested in this discussion.

@burgesswendy1 , so personally am on a semi keto diet, not for seizures, but for Type Two Diabetes and anxiety co existing with Spectrum sensitivities. I take certain supplements in gummi form because it is easier for me to get them down! I count those carbs, as they are listed on the bottle. I do not regularly eat the foods that you mentioned being high in carbs. If I am at someone's home, they usually have enough of different foods that I can eat and enjoy. So it is my choice if I est the cake! Trust me, I will pay for it later. That knowledge that I wont feel well the next day is usually enough yo keep me awsy. I have managed to lose fifty five pounds doing this. Most products do list the carbohydrates in a suppkement, but meds are another matter. You almost have to be a detective, write the company, etc. Congratulations on doing your homework for yourself and the ones you love!

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