The ketogenic diet as a treatment option in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy: Efficacy and tolerability in clinical practice

Department of Neurology, Epilepsy Centre Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, The Netherlands.
Epilepsy & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.26). 02/2012; 23(3):310-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.01.002
Source: PubMed


The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is used as a treatment for patients with difficult-to-control epilepsy. The present study assesses the efficacy and tolerability of the KD as an add-on therapy in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy. 15 adults were treated with the classical diet or MCT diet. During a follow-up period of 1 year we assessed seizure frequency, seizure severity, tolerability, cognitive performance, mood and quality of life (QOL). We found a significant reduction in seizures among the patients who followed the diet at least 1 year (n=5). Of these 5 patients, 2 had a reduction between 50 and 90%. Analyzing the study months separately, we found a seizure reduction of ≥50% in 26.6% of the patients during at least 1 month of treatment. Common side-effects were gastrointestinal disorders, loss of weight and fatigue. There was a considerable, non-significant improvement found in mood and QOL scores. Improvements were independent of reduction in seizure frequency, indicating that the effects of the KD reach further than seizure control.

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Available from: Reina Johanna Adriana de Kinderen
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    • "However, anti-inflammatory properties of VNS have been reported in various experimental models of inflammation [160], even it is still unknown whether the anti-convulsive effect of VNS was mediated through this anti-inflammatory mechanism. Meanwhile, many recent studies have shown that ketogenic diet has anti-inflammatory effects and protects against excitotoxicity-mediated neuronal cell death [161, 162]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose The ketogenic diet is an alternative treatment for patients with refractory epilepsy. Most studies to date report dietary response in children. There are limited data evaluating the efficacy of the ketogenic diet in adults. This is a report of the long-term outcome in a largely adult population of patients treated with the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Methods Twenty-nine adult and adolescent patients (mean age 32 years, range 11-51) were initiated on the ketogenic diet and followed until diet discontinuation. Clinical response and adverse effects were noted during the duration of the diet. Results Fifty-two percent of patients had a significant reduction in seizure frequency on the ketogenic diet, including 45% with ≥ 50% reduction in seizure frequency. Thirty-one percent had no improvement, seven percent were unable to successfully initiate the diet, and 10% had a >50% increase in seizure frequency. The diet was continued for a mean of 9 months (range 0.13–35 months), with five patients completing ≥23 months. There was a trend towards better response and better tolerability/longer duration in patients with symptomatic generalized epilepsy. The diet was generally well-tolerated, but undesired weight loss and constipation were the most frequent adverse effects. Conclusions The ketogenic diet can be used safely in the adult and adolescent population, with a response rate similar to those seen in children. Patient with symptomatic generalized epilepsy may be particularly good candidates for this type of dietary treatment.
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