Department of Neurology

New onset of seizures

Q: I am a 46 year old female who recently (3 weeks ago) had a grand mal seizure for the first time and haven't had another one yet. After numerous tests, including an EEG and MRI, no apparent cause has been found for the seizure. Under this circumstance, is it advisable to take medication to help prevent a recurrence, or would it be best to wait until we see if a recurrence occurs?


A: The decision to start an anticonvulsant after a single seizure is still an area of controversy. Depeding on the study cited, there may be either a moderate or high risk of having further seizures in persons with no apparent cause. In favor of starting medications is the goal to prevent more seizures. On the other hand, starting medications may put someone on medications unnecessarily.

You should review your case with your neurologist, and discuss the pros and cons for your particular situation, to determine what would be most appropriate for you.

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