Complementary Therapies and Clinical Trials

Doctor holding a bottle of blood sample in lab. science and medical concept

Treatments for epilepsy are under constant evolution, as doctors and researchers investigate new tools and therapies to improve epilepsy care. Clinical trials create a controlled and supervised environment to conduct experiments for testing new ideas or hypotheses. Some clinical trials are designed to  understand the mechanism of the disease; others investigate new treatments (such as a new medication or surgical procedure) to determine their effects on the disease and patient symptoms.

Several of the major antiepileptic drugs currently FDA-approved for the treatment of epilepsy underwent early trials in the Epilepsy Division. In addition, we were a participating center for the early trials of Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and Responsive Neurostimulation (RNS). We continue to participate in trials of emerging pharmacotherapies for epilepsy, and are always looking suitable trial opportunities.

If you are a pharmaceutical company looking for sites for clinical trials, please get in touch with us Patients who want more general information about clinical trials click here.

Complementary therapies 

Complementary therapies are alternative treatments for epilepsy, which neither drug-based or involve surgery, but consist of modifications of lifestyle, diet or other body systems and functions. Experience has shown that many such treatments can help decrease the frequency and severity of seizures, and can improve quality of life in patients with epilepsy.

The Precision Ketogenic Therapy (PKT) program is a dietary therapy to reduce seizures. Carbohydrates are reduced and the calories are replaced with fat.  PKT requires a very precise and personalized dietary prescription, involving a significant commitment on the part of the patients or caregivers. The details of what is involved can be found in the videos below.

Food as Medicine Precision Ketogenic Therapy
Typical Diet Vs PKT UF PKT Program
Meal Making Meal Making – G Tube
Meal Making – Both Record Keeping

For more information about dietary therapies for epilepsy, ask your epilepsy doctor. Healthcare providers wishing to make a direct referral for PKT please contact Peggy Borum, PhD.

Hormonal treatments are another alternative treatment for female patients of childbearing age with epilepsy. If you are a woman with epilepsy, your doctor will probably mention the effects of hormones and the menstrual cycle on seizures during your visit. Please feel free to bring up the discussion directly as well. Our program is due to start a systematic study on the effects of the menstrual cycle on women with epilepsy. Patients and healthcare providers wanting more information on the study please contact Maria Bruzzone, MD.