LGS Treatment Option
Find out about a prescription treatment that may help reduce seizures associated with LGS.
Despite the advances in medications to control seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), many people do not always completely respond to these treatments. When that happens, some parents and caregivers may consult with their doctors about other forms of therapy such as dietary treatments to add to their current treatments.
The information provided below is for your background only. Before making any decision regarding the use of this diet or any other nonmedicinal treatment, please consult your healthcare professional.
Since the 1920s, the ketogenic diet has been used as an option for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The classic ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet used to help control epileptic seizures.1,4,5 Foods eaten include heavy whipping cream, oils, mayonnaise, butter, eggs, meats, and green vegetables. There are also many different ketogenic formulas for infants or children with feeding tubes.
During the ketogenic diet, the energy that the body and brain need comes from burning fat instead of glucose.4 Fat is converted into ketone bodies in the body, which provide fuel to the brain.4 It is unclear if ketone bodies—or some other mechanism—are responsible for the diet working. The ketogenic diet has strict rules and requires a commitment from the patient and the entire family. Patients usually start the ketogenic diet in the hospital, and have regular follow-up appointments to confirm that they are doing well. Ketogenic diet teams include a neurologist as well as a dietitian.
A study that combined and analyzed the data from 19 clinical studies of the ketogenic diet in children with epilepsy showed that children with generalized seizures and syndromes who are on the diet may have a greater chance of obtaining both improved seizure control and/or antiepileptic drug reduction.1 In a study to assess the efficacy of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children 2-16 years of age, it was shown that 28 (38%) of the 73 children who were on the ketogenic diet had greater than 50% seizure reduction compared with 4 (6%) of the patients who were not on the ketogenic diet.3
Adult patients, on the other hand, may sometimes be unwilling to try the ketogenic diet simply because of the lifestyle change it represents—no fast food, no high-carb snacks, and more. But the recent introduction of the modified Atkins diet (MAD) might be changing that. In a recent MAD study that was conducted in adult patients with intractable epilepsy who were older than 18 years of age, 47% of adults had a greater than 50% reduction in their seizures by 3 months.2
The ketogenic diet might have some significant side effects.6 Long-term adverse events include renal stones, constipation, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, decreased growth, carnitine deficiency, and abnormal lipid profile.4,6 Serious adverse events have also been reported in a small number of patients, and include cardiac abnormalities due to selenium deficiency and pancreatitis.4 Children receiving the ketogenic diet continuously for longer than 6 years are at high risk for kidney stones, bone fractures, and growth disturbances, but not dyslipidemia.4
Make sure to talk with your healthcare professional before starting this or any other diet.
This Web site contains information relating to various medical conditions and treatment. Such information is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professionals. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease. In order for you to make intelligent healthcare decisions, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare provider for your, or your loved one's, personal medical needs. All quotes included in this Web site represent the individual experience of some doctors, some patients, and their caregivers. Individual responses to treatment may vary.
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