The impact of early versus late anticonvulsant reduction after ketogenic diet initiation

Eric H. Kossoff, Paula L. Pyzik, Jane R. McGrogan, James E. Rubenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The ideal timing of anticonvulsant reduction for a child started on the ketogenic diet is unclear. The records of 81 children started on the ketogenic diet consecutively over a 2-year period were reviewed for a 6-month period after diet initiation. During their first 6 months on the ketogenic diet, medications were tapered in 53 of 81 (65%) patients, with 30 of 53 (57%) considered "early" (tapered during diet initiation or within the first month afterward). No differences were seen between the early and late groups with respect to percentage with >90% seizure reduction at 3 months (47% vs 48%), diet duration (1.1 vs 0.9 years), percentage remaining on the ketogenic diet to date (73% vs 65%), or improved alertness (63% vs 57%). Nine of fifty-three (17%) had transient seizure increases during medication tapering, with no correlation to the timing in which this occurred; however, five were taking benzodiazepines or barbiturates. All had >50% seizure reduction at 3 months despite the transient worsening. Early reduction of anticonvulsants in children initiated on the ketogenic diet appears to be safe and well tolerated. However, it offers no specific advantage compared with a later taper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-502
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Epilepsy
  • Intractable
  • Ketogenic diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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