Alternative Treatments for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy


Dr. Associate Professor, University of Genova, Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, University of Genoa, “G. Gaslini” Institute, Genova, Italy.


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become much in vogue, and CAM practitioners have increased in tandem with this. The trend of using CAM for treating epilepsy does not differ from that in other medical conditions, with nearly one half of patients using CAM. In this article we review the major complementary and alternative medicines used for treatment of epilepsy. They include mind-body medicines such as reiki and yoga; biologic-based medicine such as herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and homeopathy; and manipulative-based medicine such as chiropractic. In the available literature, there is a sense of the merit of these therapies in epilepsy, but there is a paucity of research in these areas.
Individualized therapies such as homeopathy and reiki cannot be compared with medicines in a conventional pharmaceutical model. More effort needs to be put into future trials, with the assistance of qualified CAM professionals to ensure conformation to their therapeutic principles.