Non-Pharmacological and Non-Surgical Treatment of Refractory Childhood Epilepsy


Nearly 20–40% of patients with epilepsy are likely to have drug resistant epilepsy (DRE). Add-on antiseizure drugs do not produce optimal seizure control in these patients. Among the non-pharmacological options, only resective surgery is curative. However, a large majority of patients are not candidates for resective epilepsy surgery. For these children with DRE, non-pharmacological non-surgery “palliative” options should be considered early than late. These include dietary therapies and neuromodulation. While there are numerous clinical trials supporting the efficacy of dietary therapies (viz ketogenic diet, modified Atkins diet and low glycemic index therapy), the evidence for neuromodulation is still evolving. Neuromodulation techniques include vagal nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Each of the options, whether diet or neuromodulation, has its own advantages, disadvantages and adverse events profile. These have to be considered and discussed with the family before deciding the modality being chosen.

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VS and SS planned the content. VS performed the literature review and wrote the first draft which was revised by SS. Both authors approve the final draft to be submitted. SS is the guarantor for this paper.

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Correspondence to Suvasini Sharma.

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Sondhi, V., Sharma, S. Non-Pharmacological and Non-Surgical Treatment of Refractory Childhood Epilepsy. Indian J Pediatr 87, 1062–1069 (2020).

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  • Ketogenic diet
  • Modified Atkins diet
  • Vagal nerve stimulation