Epilepsy (Discharge Care) Care Guide

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes you to have seizures. Your brain contains many neurons (nerve cells). Normally, the neurons send small electrical signals to each other and to your body. A seizure is a sudden change in how the neurons send electrical signals. The change affects how you move, think, and feel. Your brain cannot function normally until the electrical signals return to normal.



  • Anticonvulsant medicine: This medicine is given to control seizures. Take this medicine exactly as directed.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

You may need tests to check the level of medicine in your blood. Your primary healthcare provider may need to change or adjust your medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your stress:

Stress may slow healing and lead to illness. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation, deep breathing, and music. Talk to someone about things that upset you.

Prevent injury during an epileptic seizure:

  • Do not hold or tie the person down.

  • Do not place anything in the person's mouth or try to force his teeth apart. The person is not in danger of swallowing his tongue.

  • Do not pour any liquid into the person's mouth or offer food or medicines until he is fully awake.

  • If possible, turn the person on his side during the seizure.

  • Place something soft under the person's head, loosen tight clothing, and clear the area of sharp or hard objects.

  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends. Let the person rest until he is fully awake.

  • Use a watch to time how long the seizure lasts.

  • Watch the type of movement and position of the person's head or eyes during the seizure.

For more information:

  • Epilepsy Foundation
    4351 Garden City Drive
    Landover , MD 20785-7223
    Phone: 1- 800 - 332-1000
    Web Address: http://http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org
  • American Epilepsy Society
    342 North Main Street
    West Hartford , CT 06117-2507
    Phone: 1- 860 - 586-7505
    Web Address: http://www.aesnet.org

Contact your primary healthcare provider or neurologist if:

  • You are depressed and feel you cannot cope with your illness.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.

  • You were injured during or after a seizure.

  • You had a second seizure soon after the first.

  • Your seizure lasted longer than 5 minutes.

  • You are having breathing problems or your lips, nail beds, and face are blue.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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