Epilepsy/Seizures

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Question
I had a seizure on 1 March 2009 while sleeping at night.  I was taken to an emergency room and given a number of tests.  I do not remember any of this.  When I was finally awake, the neurologist who came reviewed the information said that everything was normal and he thought I had had an adult onset seizure and, except for my age (69 at the time), he would just release me.  But because of my age, he gave me keppra.  This occurred at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York.  No discussion came up about epilepsy.  
  I was then transferred to a neurologist near Chambersburg, PA, my home, who placed me on lamictal and quit the keppra.  I have been seizure free now for over 4 years. I only recently got the diagnosis of epilepsy.  I question the diagnosis of epilepsy because of the difference of opinion between the two neurologists. I was given an EEG in 2010 which was abnormal.  I have had side effects from the lamictal and the keppra.How can I get a definitive answer to the question because I do not like the medication.

Answer
Hello Ramon.
Epilepsy is defined as having more than one seizure.  If you had only one seizure you do not have epilepsy.
That said, you may have had others that have occurred when you were not aware of them.  They may have occurred during sleep or they may have been subclinical.
If your EEG is abnormal, you may have epilepsy.
A test that will provide more information is called 24 hour EEG monitoring.
This is an EEG that runs 24 hours/day for a few days and obviously provides more information than a standard EEG.
If your medication is NOT tapered during the test, you may have it at home with a portable EEG, but if your medication is tapered or discontinued during the testing it must be done in the hospital.
If they find that your EEG does not indicate epilepsy then they can start decreasing the medication.  It is very tricky because if you do have epilepsy and the medication that has been controlling it is discontinued, there is a chance of experiencing a large seizure.
Good luck with all of this Ramon.
Sophia

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Sophia, R.N., M.S.

Expertise

Almost any questions pertaining to epilepsy, seizures, pseudo-seizures, testing for epilepsy, medications, surgery. Self-care, appropriate emergency measures, medication side-effects, drug interactions etc.

Experience

Working as an epilepsy nurse clinican in a large comprehensive epilepsy center for 15 years. Previous employment with a major pharmaceutical company working in pharmaceutical research. Before that - varied experience in nursing.

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