Epilepsy can be serious, and seizures often vary from person to person. But there is treatment and support available that can help you manage it well.
The main symptom of epilepsy is frequent seizures. You could find out you have epilepsy if you experience symptoms (have a seizure) and visit your GP. They might refer you to a specialist to find out more about what caused the seizure.
The specialist might suggest doing a test to check your brain activity, called an electroencephalogram (EEG), or a brain scan.
Sodium valproate is commonly prescribed to treat epilepsy. Medication containing sodium valproate can cause birth defects in unborn babies. It’s important that women taking sodium valproate are aware of these risks and take appropriate measures to avoid getting pregnant while taking this medication.
Research suggests that people with epilepsy who catch coronavirus could be at a slightly higher risk of having to go into hospital or of dying from coronavirus than people who don’t have epilepsy.
It’s not known if epilepsy itself causes this increased risk, or if it’s due to other factors.
For example, people with epilepsy might have other health conditions that are linked to an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. People with epilepsy might also be more likely to be in residential care, or have visits from carers which could increase their risk of catching coronavirus.
Find out more about coronavirus and epilepsy on the Epilepsy Action website.
Gill Stone MRPharmS
Epilepsy. nhs.uk. Published October 23, 2017. Accessed March 16, 2021.https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/epilepsy/
What is epilepsy? | Epilepsy Action. Accessed March 16, 2021.http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/what-is-epilepsy
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and epilepsy | COVID-19 | Epilepsy Action. Accessed March 17, 2021.http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/daily-life/safety/coronavirus-covid-19