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Many people wonder what this epilepsy is. This is a chronic disorder or a central nervous system disorder that causes unprovoked and recurrent seizures to an individual. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. This disorder can develop on anyone irrespective of the sex, races, ages and ethnic background. A seizure can vary from individual to individual some have only for a few seconds hence referred to as mild seizure while others can experience stronger seizures which are characterized by confusion and uncontrollable muscle twitches. When one is diagnosed by a doctor to be suffering from this condition she or he should be put in medication immediately, before the start of dose the doctor should explain clearly the long-term effects of epilepsy medication.
It should be noted that apart from medication which is known to have a lot of negative effects to an individual surgery can also be carried out to control seizures. The uniqueness of this disorder is that as one age it may go away but if at all it continues to recur individual should continue taking medicine. Epilepsy has no cure but can only be controlled by medication.
There is a different reason why an individual may have a seizure. These include:
It is estimated that 65 million people around the world have epilepsy with the United States only having 3 million people with this disorder. In the US, this condition is ranked four in terms of neurological disorder after stroke, migraine and Alzheimerâ€™s disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy?
The main symptom of epilepsy is seizures. Different people portray different symptoms based on the type of seizures. Doctors have categorized seizures in two groups, focal seizures, and generalized seizures; they established the grouping based on how the abnormal brain activity begins.
Also known as partial seizures it occurs as a result of abnormal activity in one area of the brain only. It can further be categorized into:
Simple Partial Seizure
This type of seizure does not make one unconscious though it may alter emotions, sense of taste, hearing, smell, and touch. The individual may feel dizziness and in other cases may have involuntary jerking of body parts for example arms and legs.
Complex Partial Seizures
This seizure leads to complete loss of awareness or consciousness. When under this situation the victim stares blankly in the space and does not respond to the environment, he or she may perform some repetitive movement such as swallowing, hand rubbing, walking in a circle and even chewing.
This seizure involves the whole brain. Under this division, we have six types
- Tonic Seizures- This causes muscle stiffness, it affects the muscles of back, arms, and legs.
- Myoclonic Seizures- This causes spontaneous quick jerking of the arms and legs.
- Atonic Seizures- This one cause complete control of muscle hence one can fall down suddenly.
- Tonic-Clonic Seizures- This causes a sudden loss of consciousness, shaking and stiffening of the body and in extreme case loss of bladder and bowel control.
- Clonic Seizures- This one is characterized by repeated, jerking muscle movements. This seizure has been observed to take place on the specific part that is the face, arms, and neck.
- Absence Seizures- This seizure have been observed to occur mostly in children, it is characterized by a repetitive movement for instance lip smacking and eye blinking.
Causes Of Epilepsy
Causes of brain disorder vary by age of the person. Some of the factors which are related to this condition include:
- Head Trauma- This may be due to injury can cause epilepsy
- Brain Condition- People with brain tumors have been noted to have high chances of getting epilepsy.
- Infectious Disease- Some disease such as AIDS, meningitis and viral encephalitis has been discovered to cause epilepsy.
- Developmental Disorder- This condition can also be associated with developmental disorders for example neurofibromatosis and autism.
- Prenatal Injury- Due to oxygen deficiencies and poor nutrition by mother, unborn babies may get brain damage which in turn may cause cerebral palsy or epilepsy.
Short-Term Effects Of Epilepsy Medication
These are effects brought about or rather the reaction of the body towards a certain drug, different individuals respond differently to the drug. Here below are some of the drug used to treat epilepsy and their short-term effects.
This drug was approved in 2016 and used in treating onset seizures in a patient aged 16 years and above.
Some of the possible short-term effects are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Drowsiness and other effects are believed to be due to its highly selective affinity for synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) in the brain.
This drug is used to treat status epilepticus in the emergency room.
Effects of this drug include nausea, loss of appetite and tiredness; in small children, it can cause drooling. These effects are caused by the active ingredient of diazepam.
This drug is used to treat partial seizures alone.
Some of the short-term effects of this drug are; decreased appetite, inability to sleep and weight loss. Decrease appetite will lead to automatic weight loss due to the fact that the user will be taking less food.
This drug is used in treating partial-onset seizures. It is used most by adults with epilepsy. The drug comes in an oral solution, tablets, and injection.
Short-term effects of this drug include nausea and dizziness.
This drug is used by a patient aged 12 years and above to treat partial onset seizures and primary tonic-clonic seizures./p>
Some of the potential effects of this drug include anxiety, anger, irritability, and change in mental status. This drug contains the active ingredient perampanel act on the brain causing these effects.
This drug is used to treat all forms of seizures. This drug is most preferred by many people because of its effectiveness and low cost.
The short-term effects of this drug are; change in behavior and sleepiness drowsiness, aggression and confusion among others effects.
Long-Term Effects Of Epilepsy Medication
Many long-term effects are unpredictable and are not related to the dosage or level of medication in the blood. The drug which causes these effects to include
This drug is used to treat the partial seizure.
This drug is associated with an increased incidence of plastic anemia. This fact has led to reduced use by many users, a patient taking this drug must have frequent liver tests and blood cell counts to check the level of bone marrow.
Valproate (Depakene, Depakote)
This drug is used in the treatment of partial and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
When this drug is used for a long period of time it may cause swelling of the ankles, bone thinning, decreased platelets, and liver damage among other effects.
Used in the treatment of generalized tonic-clonic. It works by slowing down brain activity. This drug is only used to treat a few types of seizures.
This drug can cause Osteopenia to the user if used for a long period of time. It can also cause a liver problem if used for a long period for example10 years; liver will be damaged in the sense that, a replacement will be required.
This drug is used in the treatment of partial seizures in adults.
This drug is said to cause kidney stones. Patient allergic to sulfa drugs are advised not to take this drug.
This drug has the capability to control seizures in approximately 90%.
Most users of this drug have been reported to be having developed kidney stones after taking this drug for a long time.
Having these effects may force the patient to stop taking the drug, it should be noted that just like any other drugs, stopping epilepsy medication abruptly may lead to withdrawal seizure. Doctor advice lowering of dose level over time as the best way of stopping intake of the drug.
Diagnoses of Epilepsy
To diagnose this condition, the medical practitioners usually review the observable symptoms and medical history of the individual. The doctor may order different tests to determine the causes of the seizures. These tests include:
- Blood tests
- Neurological examination
- High-density EEG
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
- Functional MRI (fMRI)
- Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT), among other many evaluations.
After a diagnosis of the type of the seizures, the doctor may recommend medication or may propose surgery.
When To See A Doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these occurs:
- A seizure that lasts over 5 minutes.
- Having a high fever.
- When you have a polygenic disease.
- When you've burned yourself during the course of the seizure.
- Breathing or consciousness does not come back once the seizure stops.
- If you have diabetes.
Having been diagnosed with this condition, can traumatizing but good news through proper usage of medication it can control. The bad news though is that the drug used to treat this condition have a lot of effects, therefore, it is best for the patient to inquire the long-term effects of epilepsy medication before going ahead to take them. Some drug may also require regular blood cell count and liver tests because of the adverse they may on the body of the user.