Although there is currently no cure for epilepsy, treatments can help many people effectively manage the condition. Most people can live a seizure-free life with treatment.

Treatments for epilepsy may help to control seizures and may result in some people becoming seizure-free. In some cases, children may grow out of epilepsy.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around 60–70% of people with epilepsy may be able to control it over time.

This article examines the factors that may affect epilepsy outlook, complications, and treatment options.

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In many cases, people with epilepsy may be able to live seizure-free or effectively manage their seizures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in most cases, people with epilepsy can have a good quality of life.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), proper diagnosis and treatment may enable around 70% of people with epilepsy to live seizure-free.

Among people with epilepsy, 30% have uncontrolled seizures. Up to 50% of people with epilepsy experience negative side effects of antiseizure medications.

Taking steps to control seizures and taking precautions to help prevent complications may help people effectively manage epilepsy.

Learn more about epilepsy here.

Certain factors may impact epilepsy outlooks, such as seizure type, medication, and lifestyle factors.

Beginning treatment as soon as possible for epilepsy may improve a person’s outlook.

Anti-epileptic medication may help people become seizure-free, allowing them to come off medication if a doctor recommends it. The longer people remain seizure-free with medications, the more likely it may be that they will no longer need medication.

The following factors may also affect a person’s epilepsy:

  • Sleep deprivation may trigger seizures or increase their frequency.
  • Alcohol use can trigger seizures and worsen epilepsy, sometimes making it less responsive to medications.
  • Untreated diabetes can cause hyperglycemia, which may trigger seizures and worsen the overall condition.
  • Brain damage caused by head trauma or cerebrovascular disease, which causes many small strokes, can cause additional types of seizures and make epilepsy more difficult to treat.

Factors that may improve the chance of becoming seizure-free include:

  • a positive, seizure-free response to the first one or two anti-seizure medications people take
  • no history of brain abnormality or injury
  • no family history of epilepsy
  • normal results from EEG and neurological tests

Complications of epilepsy may occur through injury during a seizure or side-effects of medication and may include:

  • accidents while driving
  • drowning, if in water during a seizure
  • falls or injuries during a seizure
  • emotional or mental health challenges of having epilepsy
  • pregnancy issues, such as fetal developmental problems
  • side effects of anti-epileptic medications, such as liver inflammation or weight gain
  • status epilepticus, which is a life threatening condition that may occur from a seizure lasting for longer than 5 minutes
  • sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), a rare condition in which people with epilepsy die suddenly through no known cause

Epilepsy treatment aims to help people become seizure-free or reduce and control seizures as much as possible. Epilepsy treatment may include the following:

  • Medications: Antiseizure medications are the most common treatment for epilepsy. There are many different types, so if one is ineffective, another drug might work better.
  • Surgery: If medications are not effective, surgery may be an option. Surgery alters or removes areas of the brain where seizures originate.
  • Implant devices: Implants under the skin send electrical pulses to the brain to help reduce seizures.
  • Diet: A ketogenic diet may help to reduce seizures, particularly in children with certain types of epilepsy.

Learn about natural remedies for epilepsy here.

Can epilepsy be cured?

There is currently no cure for epilepsy. However, it is a treatable condition. With proper diagnosis and treatment, up to 70% of people with epilepsy may be able to live seizure-free.

Around 6 in 10 people with epilepsy may become seizure-free within a few years of treatment and remain seizure-free for the rest of their lives. Some people may have occasional seizures, while others may have uncontrolled seizures.

Remission with epilepsy is possible. Factors affecting whether people have remission include prompt treatment, the type of epilepsy, seizure frequency, and the underlying cause.

Does epilepsy get worse with age?

In some cases, epilepsy may get better with age. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 74 in 100 children with new-onset seizures may become seizure-free within 2 years. Over 50 out of 100 children will outgrow epilepsy.

Older age can be a risk factor for epilepsy. The rate of epilepsy is highest in people over the age of 65. Seizure occurrence increases over the age of 60, often due to other conditions affecting the brain, such as stroke or dementia.

Living a healthy lifestyle and taking medications as a doctor prescribes may help many people continue to manage epilepsy throughout their life.

Read Iva’s story about epilepsy diagnosis in adulthood.

Treatment may help many people become seizure-free with epilepsy.

Many factors may affect epilepsy outlook, including epilepsy type, seizure frequency and severity, lifestyle factors, and other health conditions.

Taking anti-epileptic medication and other precautions to prevent injury during seizures may lead to better outcomes.