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A to Z of Epilepsy - R

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Railcard

You can get a Disabled Persons’ Railcard if you take anti-epileptic drugs and still have seizures or are currently not allowed to drive because of your epilepsy.

The Railcard allows you to get a 1/3 off most rail fares throughout Great Britain. Any adult travelling with you is also entitled to the same discount.

Any child between the ages of 5 and 15 is also entitled to a Railcard. This does not save any money for the child as the usual child's discount of 50% is much better value, but it allows any adult travelling with them to get 1/3 off the adult fare.

You can get an application form by downloading it from the Disabled Person's Railcard website, from rail stations, by email disability@atoc.org or by phoning 0845 605 0525.

Rectal diazepam

Rectal diazepam is an emergency medication used to stop prolonged seizures. (also see Status epilepticus)

Diazepam is administered via a tube into the person’s back passage (anus) by a trained individual who has the permission of the person with epilepsy. Privacy and dignity must be maintained when rectal diazepam is given. An alternative treatment is buccal midazolam which is given through the nose or into the buccal space (ie the inside of the cheek).

Epilepsy Scotland offers a recognised training course on emergency medication. For more information on available courses and emergency medication, call our helpline.  Our First aid for seizures guide gives more information on emergency medication and related issues.

Recreational drugs

Because these drugs are illegal, they are not quality-controlled. Regular and, for some people, even one-off use, can trigger a seizure. For accurate information about different drugs check out websites such as Know the Score or Talk to Frank

Taking any recreational drugs can affect effectiveness of anti-epileptic drugs. It can also make you forget to take your anti-epileptic drugs, lead to disturbed sleep or not eating properly. These can all be seizure triggers. Our Recreational drugs and seizures factsheet gives more information on this issue.

Some of the medications used to treat heroin addiction can affect a person's seizure threshold making you more likely to have a seizure. People with epilepsy should discuss their treatment medication with their doctor or epilepsy specialist nurse first.

Reflex epilepsy (stimulus sensitive epilepsy)

Reflex epilepsy is a rare form of epilepsy. The person has seizures when they are exposed to a particular stimulus. This could be a visual stimulus, like flashing lights, but can also be something which stimulates the other senses, such as hearing or smell. The most common type of reflex epilepsy is photosensitive epilepsy.

Relationships

Should you tell a new partner that you have epilepsy? There's no right or wrong answer. It may help to wait after you have had a chance to get to know each other, rather than tell a potential new partner on the first date.

If you have frequent seizures, you may want to disclose your epilepsy to a partner earlier in the relationship so he or she will know what is happening and what to do if you have a seizure.

Although it may seem difficult at first, talking about epilepsy to other people usually becomes easier with practice. Your confidence and feelings of well-being will grow as you become more and more comfortable with what you are saying and how you are saying it.

Having sex rarely causes a seizure.  If you want to talk to someone in confidence about any relationship issues relating to your epilepsy, contact our helpline. Your partner is also welcome to speak to us.

Relaxation

Relaxation can help to avoid stress, which can be a seizure trigger for some people. Any activity which you find relaxing, like yoga, swimming, taking other forms of exercise, or simply spending time with friends, can potentially help reduce the frequency of your seizures. When choosing ways of relaxing, you should make sure these activities are safe for you. For example, certain aromatherapy oils used in massage are unsuitable for people with epilepsy.  There is some evidence that some forms of deep meditation can cause seizures in some people. This is, however, very rare.

Our Leisure guide and Staying safe with epilepsy guide provide more information on these and similar subjects.

Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome

Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome (RC20) is a chromosomal disorder that is associated with epilepsy. A ring chromosome is formed by the fusion of two areas of a chromosome during pre-natal development. Epilepsy appears to be the one of the first and major clinical symptom of this syndrome. It is often drug resistant.

Rivotril

Rivotril (clonazepam) is used in all forms of epilepsy and in status epilepticus. It is the drug of first choice in myoclonic and atypical absence seizures. Drowsiness is common and may be severe. Other common side effects include fatigue, dizziness, impaired coordination, poor concentration, and restlessness.

Rivotril has been associated with foetal damage when taken by pregnant women in the first trimester. Rivotril may pass into the breast milk and adversely affect the baby during breast-feeding.

Rivotril may also increase the sedative effects of alcohol. Rivotril has withdrawal effects (including increased seizures and /or anxiety) especially if the drug is stopped abruptly after long use.

It is dangerous to stop taking Rivotril without medical advice.