OTHER APPROACHES TO EPILEPSY THERAPY: THE KETOGENIC DIET – THAT SOUNDS LIKE A MIRACLE. HOW DOES THE DIET WORK? HOW LONG WILL MY CHILD HAVE TO STAY ON THE DIET BEFORE WE KNOW THAT IT IS WORKING? WHEN CAN WE STOP THE ANTICONVULSANTS?

“That sounds like a miracle. How does the diet work?”We don’t understand how the diet works. The results do not seem to be merely the effects of the dehydration, or of the ketosis, or of the acidosis (increased amount of acid in the blood) that accompany the diet. We clearly need more research to understand the effects of this diet on seizures.”How long will my child have to stay on the diet before we know that it is working?”Many children with frequent daily seizures will stop having seizures during the starvation phase of the diet. Most for whom the diet will be effective will cease having seizures during the first week. However, since some will respond later, we recommend continuing the diet for one to three months before giving up.”When can we stop the anticonvulsants?”If the child is on barbiturates, we often begin to taper them off during the starvation phase, since the barbiturate level may increase and make the child sleepy. We continue the other anticonvulsants until it is apparent that the diet is effective in controlling the seizures and that it is tolerated. Then we slowly taper the other anticonvulsants over several months.*147\208\8*

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