Do I Need an Epileptologist?

An epileptologist typically works in a designated epilepsy center

By Morgan deBlecourt
Updated July 13, 2022
A provider speaks with a patient in clinic

Dr. Aatif Husain, an epileptologist at Duke, speaks with a patient in clinic.

Most people with epilepsy can control their seizures with medication under the supervision of a primary care doctor or general neurologist. However, you may need to see an epileptologist if your seizures are not under control, if you have certain medical considerations, or if you want a second opinion. An epileptologist is a neurologist who specializes in caring for people with epilepsy. They have completed an additional one or two years of subspecialty training in epilepsy care.

When to See an Epileptologist

  • To confirm your epilepsy diagnosis
  • If your seizures are not under control after three months of care by your primary care physician or after one year of care by a general neurologist
  • If your seizures are not under control despite trying two or three different medications
  • If you are experiencing unwanted side effects from medications
  • If you have other medical conditions or considerations that affect or are affected by epilepsy
  • If you are pregnant or want to become pregnant

Seek Care at an Epilepsy Center

“An epileptologist typically works in a designated epilepsy center, which is capable of evaluating people whose seizures are not under adequate control. An epilepsy center provides a very comprehensive approach to care,” said Duke epileptologist Aatif Husain, MD

An epilepsy center is staffed by specialists who use sophisticated testing to pinpoint your diagnosis, offer the latest treatments, address possible side effects of medications, recommend surgical options if appropriate, and help you manage the social and emotional aspects of epilepsy.

As a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, Duke is recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers for providing the highest level of diagnosis, treatment, and surgical options.

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