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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Treatment

If your child has absence epilepsy, the doctor will treat the condition with medication to help control the number of absence seizures your child has. They are known as anticonvulsants (also called antiepileptic or antiseizure drugs).

The two most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant medications to treat absence epilepsy are ethosuximide (Zarontin) and valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote). Ethosuximide only prevents absence seizures. Valproic acid is a general anticonvulsant that also is the treatment for tonic-clonic (grand mal), myoclonic and partial seizures as well as absence seizures.

Controlling absence epilepsy can help your child reach his or her full potential at school and home. Once your child begins taking a seizure medicine, treatment usually continues for at least two years.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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