Recurrent Seizure (Adult)

You have had another seizure today. A common cause of seizures that keep happening (recurrent seizures) is missing doses of seizure medicine. But sometimes seizures are hard to control even when you take the medicine correctly. If this is the case for you, your healthcare provider may need to increase your dosage. Or you may need to add or change to another medicine.

Home care

Follow these tips when caring for yourself at home. For this seizure:

  • Seizures aren’t predictable. So don't do anything that might cause danger to you or other people if you have another seizure. Until the seizures are under good control, take these precautions:

    • Don’t drive, ride a motorcycle, or ride a bike.

    • Don’t operate dangerous equipment such as power tools.

    • Take showers instead of baths.

    • Don’t swim or climb ladders, trees, or roofs.

  • Tell your close friends and relatives about your seizure. Teach them what to do for you if it happens again.

  • If medicine was prescribed to prevent seizures, take it exactly as directed. Missing doses will increase the risk of having another seizure.

  • If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Restart the medicine at your next scheduled time. Don’t take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

  • Wear a "Medic-Alert" bracelet to let emergency personnel know about your condition.

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule so that you get at least 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night. This is especially important when you are sick with a cold or flu or another type of infection.

  • Alcohol and recreational drugs can cause you to have more seizures. Ask your doctor if you are allowed to drink any alcohol at all.

For future seizures, if you are alone:

If you feel a seizure coming on, lie down on a bed or on the floor with something soft under your head. This will keep you from falling. Lie on your left side, not on your back. This will let fluid drain out of your mouth and prevent choking. Be sure you are clear of any objects that might injure you during the seizure. Call for help if there is time.

For future seizures, if someone is with you:

The person should help you get into a safe position and call for help. The person shouldn’t try to force anything in your mouth once the seizure begins. This could harm your teeth or jaw.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider. Keep a seizure calendar to record how often you have a seizure. If you are being started on anti-seizure medicine, ask your doctor if you need additional birth control. Seizure medicine can affect how well birth control pills work, and you could become pregnant. Some women who take seizure medicine also need certain vitamins. Tell your doctor if you plan on getting pregnant or if you become pregnant. Don't drink alcohol until your doctor tells you it’s OK.

Each state has different laws that say when someone with seizures is allowed to drive. Some states require that a seizure disorder to be reported to the state. They don't allow you to drive until your seizures are controlled. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if this applies to you. For more information, see the Epilepsy Foundation website at www.epilepsy.com/driving-laws.

Man in exam room talking to healthcare provider.

Important

Don't drive until you have followed up with your healthcare provider and you have been cleared to drive.

 

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Seizures happen more often or last longer than usual

  • A seizure lasts over 5 minutes

  • You don’t wake up between seizures

  • Confusion that lasts more than 30 minutes after a seizure

  • Injury during a seizure

  • Fever over 100.4ºF (38.0ºC), or as advised

  • Unusual irritability, drowsiness, or confusion

  • Stiff or painful neck

  • Headache that gets worse 

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