Dietary treatments for epilepsy: management guidelines for the general practitioner

Epilepsy Behav. 2011 Jun;21(2):115-21. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Apr 21.


As ketogenic diets become more frequently used as a standard treatment for epilepsy in children and adults, hospital and community neurologists, pediatricians, intensivists, general practitioners, and house officers will readily encounter patients who are receiving these dietary treatments. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that dietary therapies for epilepsy (classic ketogenic diet, medium-chain triglyceride diet, modified Atkins diet, and low-glycemic-index treatment) are highly effective, with approximately 30-60% of children overall having at least a 50% reduction in seizures after 6 months of treatment. However, as would be true of any other medical anticonvulsant therapy, these treatments have known side effects and complications requiring recognition and timely action. In addition, the ketogenic diet is a significant intervention requiring rigorous daily adherence; not every family is willing or able to make the necessary commitment to this therapy. We provide herein a survey of the most common situations faced in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, including a discussion of triage and management based on our center's experience as well as the recent 2009 International Consensus Guideline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet / standards*
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • General Practitioners / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans