Webinar: Adult Epilepsy: Common Clinical Issues and New Therapies

Mon, Nov 2, 2015
1:00pm to 2:00pm ET


A webinar featuring Mayo Clinic neurologists Jeffrey Britton, M.D., Gregory Cascino, M.D., Jerry Shih, M.D., and Joseph Sirven, M.D.. The physicians discuss a variety of adult epilepsy topics including:

  • Seizure medications: when to start and when can they be stopped.
  • Maximizing safety for patients with epilepsy.
  • Indications for admission to epilepsy monitoring unit.
  • New surgical therapies such as laser thermoablation.

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When considering persons who do not have epilepsy, what are precautions for them to take from having a seizures in their lifetime? I have been cured for over 24 years and like to have family/friends to take precautions.

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Congratulations on being seizure free for 24 years! The likelihood of an additional seizure after 24 years of seizure freedom is quite low. Having stated that, the only precautions to take are ones that we would recommend to all patients: get sleep, exercise, and practice stress management.

Nearly 10 percent of individuals may have a single unprovoked seizure. However, a single seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. Of those individuals who have a single seizure, 60 percent never experience another.


I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 15. I am now 23 almost 24, and have been seizure free for almost 8 years. I have yearly appointments with my neurologist. I am on 3 different seizure medicaitons, Lamictal, generic Klonipin, and generic Keppra. I am also on Straterra due to the side effects of my seizure medications causing me to have ADD. I take my medications twice a day at the same time (5:30AM and 5:30PM). My fiance and I have been wondering about having children before I turn 30. What do you suggest about the ways I could safely get pregnant but still be able to stay on my medications?

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Congratulations on being seizure free for so long, Tessa! And it’s great you’re making plans for a healthy pregnancy now. The odds of a positive pregnancy are overwhelmingly in your favor.

Before you try to conceive, schedule appointments with the health care provider who’ll be handling your pregnancy and your neurologist to talk about any treatment changes you might need to make before pregnancy begins. Take your anti-seizure medication exactly as prescribed. Don’t adjust the dose or stop taking the medication on your own. Remember, uncontrolled seizures likely pose a greater risk to your baby than does any medication. It’s also important to make healthy lifestyle choices, like eating a healthy diet, taking prenatal vitamins, and getting enough sleep.

You may find this page useful: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20048417.


Does epilipsey/seizures cause memory loss/ recall or is it more likely to be caused by medication? I take Depakote and have been on it for about 27 years.

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Missy, recurrent seizures, temporal lobe damage from seizures, and anti-seizure medication can all affect memory. Memory loss or trouble processing information can be a side effect with Depakote. I am not aware of Depakote causing permanent memory loss. Since there are multiple factors that can cause or lead to memory loss or cognitive problems in patients with epilepsy, it will be important to discuss your concerns with your neurologist. Further testing may help to differentiate between the possibilities. Another option is to switch from Depakote to another anti-seizure drug that does not have the memory side effects – however, this should only be done if your doctor feels this is a safe approach for you.


Drs in Florida are increasingly diagnosing Epilepsy pts with “pseudo- seizures” which they say is not related to Epilepsy. They appear to be using this diagnosis when not able to produce a seizure under Veeg or regular 3 minute in office eeg. Can you talk about Psuedo-seizures and why the focus on them as the default diagnosis until proven otherwise?

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From Dr. Shih: At Mayo Clinic Florida, I use the term Non-epileptic Events or NEE (rather than the term pseudoseizures). I do not have any specific information on how doctors in Florida outside of the Mayo Clinic diagnose NEE, or why they may be doing so more frequently. In our hands, NEE is not a default diagnosis, but rather a diagnosis usually made after testing in the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU).

Dr. Shih also provided me with a great pdf describing the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment of this problem. If you’ll send me an email at spiceland.lauren@mayo.edu, I’ll forward the pdf to you.

Great information. Was patient of Dr Britton many years ago. Since I saw him I have been seizure free 8 years!!! Found the right treatment for me!! For that, I will be forever thankful!! Seizures no longer control my life.

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