Nonpharmacologic treatments of Dravet syndrome: focus on the ketogenic diet

Epilepsia. 2011 Apr;52 Suppl 2:79-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03009.x.


We present an update of our experience with the ketogenic diet (KD) in patients with Dravet syndrome (DS) to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability and our short experience with vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in the treatment of this syndrome. Between March 1, 1990 and May 31, 2007, 59 patients who met diagnostic criteria for DS were studied in our department. Twenty-four of them were placed on the KD and were followed up for a minimum of 2 years. Three patients were treated with VNS. Sixteen (66.6%) of 24 patients remained on the diet. Two patients (12.5%) became seizure free, 10 children (62.5%) had a 75-99% decrease in seizures, and the remaining 4 children (25%) had a 50-74% decrease in seizures. Six patients have been off the diet for >2 years; one of them is seizure free, two have sporadic seizures, and three, who abandoned the diet after 3 years of adhering to it, relapsed. As to the efficacy of VNS, two patients had a 50-74% decrease in seizures and in the other seizure frequency remained unchanged. The device was well tolerated in all patients without significant complications. Considering the severity and refractarity of seizures in patients with DS, the fact that 12 of 16 children who remained on the diet had a significant reduction in number of seizures shows that the KD is at present an interesting therapeutic option. VNS may be a good alternative treatment for DS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Ketogenic / methods*
  • Diet, Ketogenic / trends
  • Electroencephalography / trends
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / diet therapy*
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / trends