Epilepsy medication education
What to consider about your medications
Children often take the same antiepileptic medications as adults. Medication may be in the form of tabs, sprinkles, capsules or syrup. These medications are designed to prevent seizures. Some are successful with a few seizure types; others have a broader range of action. Whenever possible, doctors try to control seizures with one medication. Some children, however, may need to take more than one.
Children may respond so well to medication that no further seizures occur as long as the medication is taken regularly as directed by the doctor. Not having seizures does not mean that the medication is no longer needed. Always ask the doctor before stopping a seizure medication. Doing so without medical supervision may result in a seizure or another type of reaction.
- Make sure that you understand the dosages of medicine prescribed by your doctor such as the number of pills or teaspoons required for each dose as well as the number of doses and times (e.g., morning, noon, night) to administer each dose. Also, make sure that you understand the best method for administering each medication (e.g., by dropper, mixed with food or liquid, or crushed) .
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects associated with each medication your child is taking and what you should do if they occur.
- Keep follow-up appointments. Some medications require periodic blood tests that are important to your child's health.
- Don't change the dose or stop giving seizure medication on your own without first talking with your child's doctor.
- Ask for refills from your pharmacy several days before the medication is due to run out.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter medications as they may interfere with the epilepsy medication your child is taking. Also, check with the pharmacist when filling other prescriptions for your child.
- Find out what you should do if your child misses a dose. Ask whether the dosing schedule is flexible and what to do if your child is scheduled for a dose when he/she is sleeping.
Quick tips: antiepileptic medicines
The AED needs to be taken every day to prevent seizures. Here are some tips for remembering to give medicine:
- Give the medicine at the same time everyday as part of your child’s daily routine. Have your child take it with a meal or when teeth are brushed.
- Let your child put a sticker on the calendar whenever the medicine is taken. This provides a fun reward for your child. It is also a good way to keep track of the medicine doses.
- Use a pill box to help check that a dose wasn’t forgotten.
It is important to not miss any medicine doses.
- If you forget a dose, give the medicine as soon as you remember. Do not give 2 doses at the same time (unless your doctor says this is okay to do.) Give the next dose at least 4 hours later. Do not try to catch up on missed doses.
- If your child throws up the medicine within 20-30 minutes of giving the dose, try to give the dose as soon as your child is able to keep down small amounts of clear liquids. If your child throws up the dose a second time, don’t repeat the dose. Call your doctor or nurse for help.
If your child becomes ill or has side effects while you are either increasing or decreasing the AED medicine, call your doctor or nurse. They will give you instructions about the plan for the next medicine change.
Some medicines, including over the counter medicines may affect your child’ s AED medicines by making it too strong or too weak. Check with your pharmacist to be sure that other medicines are okay to take with the AED medicine. It is okay to use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen when your child is taking an anti seizure medicine.
It is a good idea to carry a list of your child’s medications with you. This list should include any vitamins, supplements, or home remedies.
When your child is old enough, help them learn to remember to take their medicine on their own. A good time to start is when your child is between 5th and 6th grade. You can start by having them fill their pillbox every week. Let your child take the medicine with you double-checking that it wasn’t forgotten.
Traveling with medication
- Be sure to have your prescriptions filled and picked up before you leave home.
- Get prescriptions refilled 2-3 weeks before the start of your vacation to be sure you have enough to take with you.
- If needed, call your insurance company to see if they will give you advance doses so you will not run out.
- For air travel, carry two supplies of medicines with you. Put one in your carry-on and the other in your checked baggage. If your child uses Diastat®, keep this in your carry-on bag.
- Carry a written list of medicines and doses. This is called a Home Medication List.
- Bring your pharmacy phone number from home. If needed, they can help you with possible insurance issues at a new pharmacy.
- If your child is not using a rescue medicine now, such as Diastat®, call your nurse or doctor to see if it is needed for the trip.
Medication assistance programs
Access 2 wellness
Access2wellness provides access to one of the broadest selections of assistance programs that offer more than 1,000 prescription medications, for free or at a discount, to those who qualify.
Partnership for prescription assistance
A partnership bringing together America ’ s pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medications they need through the public or private program that is right for them.
A nonprofit group that provides information to health care providers to help patients get medications.
A patient assistance company partially funded by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. It promises to speed requests for no-cost medications.
Together RX access
A free prescription savings program for eligible individuals/families who lack prescription drug coverage and are not eligible for Medicare.
Medication assistance program
The Medication Assistance Program helps patients substantially reduce or completely eliminate their prescription drug costs.
Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders: A Resource Guide for Parents. Works Cited and original content can be found here.
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