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A to Z of Epilepsy - L

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lyrica

Lyrica is a common brand name for pregabalin, the generic drug, used to treat partial and secondary generalised seizures.

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor.

The known side effects of pregabalin can include dizziness, drowsiness, blurred or double vision, mood changes, weight gain and concentration problems.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. If you get a different make, this could trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Labour and having a baby

If you and your baby are healthy your epilepsy should not stop you having a normal labour and delivery. It is unlikely you will have a seizure during labour. This rarely happens. If it does, it is usually due to the lack of sleep, stress, dehydration and over-breathing linked with labour.

Women with epilepsy are advised to have their baby in hospital. Consultant doctors and midwives can help you and your baby. Tell hospital staff you have epilepsy and mention any seizure triggers.

Taking medication during labour

It is important to take your anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) during labour. Missed doses can lead to seizures. Don’t forget to bring your AEDs to hospital. Ask your partner, companion or nurse to remind you to take your AEDs.

Pain relief during labour

Women with epilepsy can use a range of pain relief methods during labour. If you want an epidural (spinal anaesthetic) you will need to tell your midwife beforehand. You should also tell the anaesthetist that you have epilepsy and take medication. Your midwife will tell you about techniques for gas and air and breathing. Women with epilepsy can use TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) machines. Talk to your midwife about pain relief early on in your pregnancy.

Other issues

Some women who take AEDs but have a seizure during labour may need extra medication. Women who have a lot of seizures or prolonged seizures near the end of their pregnancy may need to have a caesarean section.

If you take AEDS your newborn baby should be given a vitamin K injection. This is to stop internal bleeding and the injection is routine and safe.

Lamictal

Lamictal is a common brand name for Lamotrigine, the generic drug, used to treat partial, secondary generalised, absence, myoclonic, tonic, clonic, and tonic-clonic seizures.

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor.

The known side effects of lamictal can include skin rash (typically soon after starting the medication, sometimes it’s severe), drowsiness, headache, dizziness, double vision and insomnia.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. If you get a different make, this could trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine is a generic drug used to treat partial, secondary generalised, absence, myoclonic, tonic, clonic, and tonic-clonic seizures. A common brand name for this drug is Lamictal.

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor.

The known side effects of lamotrigine can include skin rash (typically soon after starting the medication, sometimes it’s severe), drowsiness, headache, dizziness, double vision and insomnia.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. If you get a different make, this could trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Large Goods Vehicle - licensing rules

People with epilepsy can be given a LGV (large goods vehicle) or PCV (people carrying vehicle) licence if they :

  • have been seizure free without medication for 10 years

and

  • have had no treatment for epilepsy in the last 10 years

and

  • satisfy DVLA medical advisors that seizures are no longer likely to happen.

For more information, please see our Driving factsheet.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display Screens)
Less than 5% of people with epilepsy have photosensitive epilepsy. This is where seizures are triggered by flashing or flickering lights or repetitive patterns. Modern LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and plasma screens are flicker free so they are less likely to be a seizure trigger. Older computer screens and TVs known as Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) do flicker so they are more likely to trigger a photosensitive seizure. It is safer to work, play games or watch an LCD or plasma screen rather than on an old style CRT TV. If you use a computer at work a risk assessment should be carried out for you. See our Guide to epilepsy and occupational health. There is more information in our Photosensitive epilepsy factsheet.
Learning disability and epilepsy

A learning disability is where a person finds it more difficult to learn and understand than usual. Some people prefer the term learning difficulty, but this term is also used to describe specific learning problems.

There are many ways that people can be affected by a learning disability. Sometimes the terms mild, moderate, severe and profound are used to describe the levels of learning disability.

About one person in 20 with a mild learning disability will have epilepsy. For people with a profound disability it is more common around half of them having epilepsy.

 

Levetiracetam

Levetiracetam is a generic drug used to treat partial and secondary generalised seizures. A common brand name for this drug is Keppra.

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor.

The known side effects of levetiracetam can include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, tremor, irritability, nausea, insomnia.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. If you get a different make, this could trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Life Insurance

People with epilepsy sometimes find it difficult to get life insurance. Insurance companies should not charge you extra just because you have epilepsy. They will need to assess your risk. This depends on how well your epilepsy is controlled.

If you are having problems getting insurance please contact our helpline on 0808 800 2200, by text to 07786209501 or by email: enquiries@epilepsyscotland.org.uk