Your Local Pharmacist is

Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 8880-8326

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:: In Brief


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:: Epilepsy
Disease Management - Epilepsy
  Disease Management

Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder which affects about 2% of Austraians.  Epilipsy is charactrised by recurrent unprovoked seizures (fits). These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal, excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain.

Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood. Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as a group of syndromes with vastly divergent symptoms but all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain.


Types of Seizures:

  • Tonic-clonic seizures - the person falls over, goes stiff and shakes or jerks.  They are unconscious and may dribble or breath noisily.  Seizures usually last between one and three minutes.  The person may sleep or bhe tired afterwards.  When they regain consciousness they may be confused for several minutes and ot know what has happened.
  • Absence seizures - The person stops what they are doing and stares for 5-30 seconds.  The eyes may roll upwards or flicker.  These seizures mostly occur in children.  Children may have trouble larning and paying attention in class.
  • Complex partial seizures - The person may look suddenly vague, not be aware of their surroundings or not respond to other people.  Unusual actions such as chewing movements, fiddling with clothing or wandering may occur.  Seizures may last from a few seconds to a few minutes.  The person may be confused for a short time after the seizure.

Trigger factors:

  • lack of sleep
  • stress
  • alcohol
  • flickering lights
  • menstruation
  • missing meals
  • infection and illness
  • certain medicines
  • stopping epilepsy medicine suddenly or missing a dose


  • Changing to a different brand of your medication can trigger seizures
  • Take medicine strictly as directed
  • Alcohol can ract with epilepsy medicine and trigger seizures
  • Keep a spare prescription with you


Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases.

A ketogenic diet is very rich in lipids (fats) and oils, but low in proteins and carbohydrates. This unusually high intake of lipids and oils creates a condition in the body know as "ketosis". The metabolic shift that is created increases the seizure threshold for some. This diet is also calorie and liquid restricted. The Ketogenic diet is mainly effective in children. It requires careful preparation and strict adherence.

What to do if someone is having a seizure:


  • Remain calm
  • Stay with person
  • Time seizure
  • Protect from injury
  • Roll into recovery position after jerking stops OR immediately if vomited
  • Maintain privacy and dignity
  • Observe and reassure until recovered


  • Put anything in their mouth
  • Restrain the person
  • Move person unless in danger
  • Apply CPR (In the unlikely event resuscitation is necessary, commence once jerking stops)

More Information:

Epilepsy Action Australia -
Epilepsy Foundation -

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • side affects of epilepsy medication
  • taking other medication with your epilepsy medication
  • medication dosage packs
  • what to do if you miss a dose of your epilepsy medication 

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