Different seizure types and different types of epilepsy have different natural histories (i.e., how the disorder develops over time). These unique features may dictate when to treat and for how long. They may also affect choice of medication, since some drugs are effective against specific seizures and syndromes.
Achieving seizure control through drug treatment, with minimal side effects, generally depends on selection of a drug specific to the seizure type or epilepsy syndrome, minimizing the number of drugs prescribed, and educating the patient and family to encourage compliance with the dosing schedule.
Other factors affecting choice of drugs include potential side effects, the complexity or simplicity of dosing schedules, age of the patient, child-bearing potential, use of other medication, patient life style and, in some cases, cost.
Seizure type and syndrome. Antiepileptic drugs are relatively specific for certain types of seizures; in some cases, the wrong drug can make seizures worse. The International Classifications of Seizures and Epilepsy provide frameworks on which selection of seizure preventing medications is based. If a syndrome can be diagnosed, the choice of therapy can be narrowed further. One of the cluster of factors that is used to define an epilepsy syndrome is whether it is associated with a specific drug or other form of treatment.