Experience in the use of the ketogenic diet as early therapy

James E. Rubenstein, Eric H. Kossoff, Paula L. Pyzik, Eileen P.G. Vining, Jane R. McGrogan, John M. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The ketogenic diet has traditionally been considered an anticonvulsant therapy of last resort, despite excellent efficacy and limited side effects. We hypothesized that the ketogenic diet would have similar results in patients with new-onset epilepsy. A retrospective study was conducted of patients started on the ketogenic diet since 1994. Thirteen of 460 (2.8%) patients were started on the ketogenic diet as early (zero or one prior anticonvulsant) therapy for seizures. Of those remaining on the diet, 60% (6 of 10) had a > 90% seizure reduction at 6 months and 100% (6 of 6) had a > 90% reduction at 12 months. Patients with infantile spasms were as likely to achieve > 50% seizure reduction at 6 months as patients with other seizure types (75% vs 60%; P = .6). The ketogenic diet can be a valuable therapy before epilepsy becomes intractable. In the 13 patients reported, efficacy without side effects was achieved similarly to that with patients with intractable epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-34
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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