Epilepsy treatment in Germany
Why seizure treatment might be challenging?
Around 65 million people worldwide struggle with epilepsy, one of the most severe neurological diseases. Patients have everyday problems such as social isolation, dependency, unemployment, etc. With the help of modern diagnostic methods, the disease is quickly revealed, and patients with diagnosed conditions can be effectively treated.
The anti-epileptic drugs have been investigated for a long time, but despite new medication development, the problem of pharmacoresistance hasn't disappeared entirely. Till nowadays, drugs cannot affect seizures in some epileptic patients. The second but not less critical difficulty is side effects. The most common adverse signs include dizziness, drowsiness, cognitive impairment, tremor, as well as weight gain, kidney stones, gastrointestinal tract inflammation, liver toxicity, etc. The pharmacological treatment is also limited because of adverse effects, withdrawal symptoms and counteraction with other meds.
In general, drug therapy is effective but still might be challenging in some cases. The choice of the most effective and safest pill for each particular person could be a real puzzle. The neurologist must consider the patient's age, type of contractions, natural history, and potential interaction with other medication. In addition, epilepsy usually has a dynamic that makes it necessary to change the drug.
Treatment options for epilepsy in Germany
The German healthcare system is the leading in the world. Therefore, neurologists have modern treatment solutions available for epileptic patients. There are a lot of options to manage convulsive disorder:
- Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)
- The surgical removal of the focus of the attack. Such therapy could be helpful if AEDs are ineffective in some situations or the diagnostic imaging shows that the epileptic area is small and can be removed without dangerous consequences.
- The ketogenic diet. The high consumption of fats is reported to slow down the development of disease and reduce the number of attacks.
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS). This method is performed with the help of a device that sends electronic signals to the brain areas responsible for seizures.
- Responsive neurostimulation. This modern technology is able to detect the time when epileptic activity appears in a particular brain area and electrically stimulate these foci at that exact time.
- Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). This therapy involves using the connection of a pulse generator with the left vagus nerve inside the body. With the help of this device, irregular brain activity is managed.
- MRI-guided stereotactic laser ablation. The laser targets the brain region with an epileptic focus and the pathological tissues are destroyed through thermal energy.
Effective drug therapy
There are many kinds of AEDs. The most common include carbamazepine, sodium valproate, and more new (levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, lamotrigine) and others. Even the latest anti-seizure medications can be a reason for severe adverse symptoms such as visual field defects, but the older ones are more dangerous. Moreover, modern drugs have better tolerability, less negative impact on the blood system and the same or even higher efficacy than previous generations of AEDs.
In most cases, drug treatment is the best way to manage epilepsy. Doctors in Germany do use not regular drugs available everywhere, but combinations of drugs from different groups to achieve better results. There are several diagnostic methods that allow doctors to check drug concentration in the blood, detect if certain medications can be useful for the patient and eventually select the most suitable treatment strategy.
TOP 3 centres for epilepsy treatment
Numerous German hospitals are engaged in medical care for patients with epilepsy of any nature. We offer you to take a look at the TOP clinics in Germany:
Beta clinic Bonn - it specialises in treating head diseases and has a high-quality epilepsy centre. The neurology department is equipped with the latest diagnostic and seizure treatment techniques, including speech fMRI, SISCOM, and many others.
University Hospital Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich - the clinic is one of the biggest German and European hospitals. In addition, there is a neurology department with the Epilepsy Centre at its disposal. The leading neurologists of the unit follow the latest guidelines in diagnosing and treating convulsive disorder.
Helios Hospital Krefeld - the hospital is one of the most innovative clinics in Germany and epileptology is one of the focuses of its neurology department. The high-experienced neurologists use ultramodern brain imaging equipment to diagnose epilepsy.
Best German epileptologists
In the state-of-art hospitals of Germany, which specialised in seizure treatment, work the most experienced German neurologists and epileptologists:
- Prof. Dr. med. Christian E. Elger, who has more than 35 years of experience and works as a chief of the neurology department at Beta clinic Bonn
- Prof. Dr. med. Marianne Dieterich is a top German neurologist, the head physician of the neurology department at University Hospital Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. This specialist is an owner of numerous national and international awards, and a member of societies for neurology and neurophysiology.
- Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Haarmeier is a well-known German doctor and the chief of the neurology department at Helios Hospital Krefeld. He has a lot of experience at different German clinics and is a member of national neurology societies.
How to find a doctor?
If you want to find an appropriate specialist for epilepsy diagnosis and treatment, you should follow the next criteria in your search:
- Ranking of the clinic (you can find it on our site)
- The service quality
- The certifications of the department and personal doctor’s achievements;
- The professional experience of the doctor;
- The specialisation (the doctor should be a neurologist with certification in epilepsy treatment, sometimes called epileptologist)
- Memberships in different societies and ownership of awards are signs of good qualification