Relevant BNF section: BNF Appendix 2
Epilepsy (a proneness to recurrent seizures) is the most common serious neurological disorder, with an incidence of around 40–70 cases per 100,000 population in developed countries, and a lifetime risk of 1–3%.1–3 Seizures have been reported to cease on absolute fasting, and early studies suggested that a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrate would produce similar conditions to fasting; the anticonvulsant effect was attributed to the production of ketones.2 The ketogenic diet was introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s, but its use waned with the introduction of phenytoin and other antiepileptic drugs.2–4 However, around 30% of patients continue to have seizures while taking one or more antiepileptic drugs, and some patients have significant unwanted effects with such medication.1,2 During the past two decades, there has been a renaissance of interest in dietary therapy.2 Here, we focus on the use of ketogenic diets in the treatment of epilepsy.
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