Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you'll probably be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
It's good to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you or your child has experienced, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking and the dosages used. Also, write down the reasons you stopped taking any medications, whether this was because of side effects or lack of effectiveness.
- Ask a family member to come with you to the doctor, because it's not always easy to remember everything you've been told during your appointment. Also, since memory loss can happen during seizures, many times an observer is able to better describe the seizure than is the person who's had the seizure.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For grand mal seizure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have epilepsy?
- Will I have more seizures?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- Do I need to restrict any activities?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you or your child begin experiencing symptoms?
- How many seizures have you or your child had?
- How often do the seizures occur?
- Can you describe a typical seizure?
- How long do the seizures last?
- Do the seizures occur in clusters?
- Do they all look the same, or are there different seizure behaviors you or others have noticed?
- What medications have you or your child tried? What doses were used?
- Have you tried combinations of medications?
- Have you noticed any seizure triggers, such as sleep deprivation or illness?
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- FDA warns about potential Topamax related birth defects. FDA Reports. http://www.fda-reports.com/alerts/?p=187. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- FDA: Aseptic meningitis risk with use of seizure drug Lamictal. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm222212.htm. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- American Academy of Neurology. Practice parameter update: Management issues for women with epilepsy — Focus on pregnancy (an evidence-based review): Teratogenesis and perinatal outcomes. Neurology. 2009;73:133. http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/WNL.0b013e3181a6b312v1. Accessed March 23, 2011.
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- Stafstrom CE, et al. Pathophysiology of seizures and epilepsy. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Seizure disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec16/ch214/ch214a.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Schachter SC. Evaluation of the first seizure in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Zupanc M. Epilepsy in infants and children. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed March 22, 2011.