Refractory Epilepsy illustration

Refractory epilepsy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

If the doctor hints to you that you got refractory epilepsy, then he means medicine is not getting control of your seizure. It is also called intractable epilepsy , drug resistant or uncontrolled epilepsy. This condition may be recorded in your childhood or adulthood stage.

Usually the noted symbols that have knowledge leaked in the public domain include but not limited to: confusion, a blank stare and even shaking.

Refractory Epilepsy causes

It is a condition that can start at any stage in life. At times, if one had a serious head injury, then he is likely to develop refractory epilepsy. This may arise from a car accident.

The child may also develop the refractory epilepsy from some serious infections including but not constrained to meningitis

In adults, stroke or brain tumor normally exposes the individual to a refractory epilepsy. This are the major refractory epilepsy causes.

Refractory Epilepsy Symptoms

Refractory epilepsy is normally suspected in case of the following signs and symptoms:

In case you still have a seizure yet you still are taking any anti -epilepsy drug, then there is a likelihood that you are suffering from refractory epilepsy. This may take minutes or seconds in various forms.

Seizures as well may be accompanied by various symptoms like:

  • Losing the control of bladder or even the bowel.
  • Sudden black out.
  • Prompt stare into space
  • Tongue biting
  • Sudden falling down
  • Muscles getting stiff.

Convulsions may as well be regarded as among the possible refractory epilepsy symptoms. This means your shaking is beyond your control and so you cannot stop it.

Before getting down to a conclusion, your doctor will make possible diagnosis which will not only be limited to asking various questions like:

  • Have you ever skipped your medical dose?
  • Do you have regular seizure?
  • Has there been an epileptic history in your family before?
  • Does your seizure persist regardless of medical dosage?

Electroencephalogram may also be a diagnostic measure your doctor can bring into consideration. This requires him to place metallic discs referred to as electrodes onto your scalp so as to get a record of brain activities.

Refractory Epilepsy Treatment

Medication. Its an often step recommended by doctors. The doctor may reconsider giving a different dosage from the drugs you take. He as well may give advice on other medicine either as a combination with the one being taken or alone.

There exist many drugs that facilitate epilepsy treatment. These among others may include:

  • Lamotregine
  • Gabapentine
  • Levetirecetam
  • Tiagabine
  • Oxicarbazepine
  • Zonosamide
  • Topiramate


If there is persistent seizures even after trying anti -epilepsy drugs, the doctor may give brain surgery as their possible recommendation. This is common if epilepsy only affects one side of the brain. This condition is normally regarded as partial refractory epilepsy. This is done by removal of the affected region of your brain confirmed to cause the condition.

After the surgery, you will be recommended to stay longer in the intensive care unit for few days after which you will move to hospital room for check -up where you may take almost two weeks. You are advised to take ease for a while after which normality shall get to you in full measure. You may need to have the seizures medication for a lifetime regardless of the surgery.

Ask your doctor about the possible effects of surgery that you might expect. You as well may ask him to bring you to some surgery victims so that you get to understand your expectations.

Diet. Taking a specific diet may be helpful to some epileptic individuals. It is a high -fat, low protein contents and low contents of carbohydrates diet. It does not only require you to start it in a specific way but also require having strict adherence even to the extend of supervision by a doctor or diet expert. Due to its specificity, other supplements like minerals and vitamins are normally recommended.

Conducting an electrical stimulation. The doctor may advice on stimulation of the vagus nerves so as to facilitate treatment of refractory epilepsy. This is usually the last considered alternative and can only happen if and only if other options like diet and surgery have produced no success.

The doctor normally uses a device that supplies the nerves with current which cuts down a number of nerves that are struck by seizures to lose the intensity.


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