The ketogenic diet as a treatment option in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy: Efficacy and tolerability in clinical practice

Danielle A. J. E. Lambrechts*, Laura H. P. Wielders, Albert P. Aldenkamp, Fons G. H. Kessels, Reina J. A. de Kinderen, Marian J. M. Majoie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Web of Science)


The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is used as a treatment for patients with difficult-to-control epilepsy. The present study assesses the efficacy and tolerability of the KD as an add-on therapy in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy. 15 adults were treated with the classical diet or MCT diet. During a follow-up period of 1 year we assessed seizure frequency, seizure severity, tolerability, cognitive performance, mood and quality of life (QOL). We found a significant reduction in seizures among the patients who followed the diet at least 1 year (n=5). Of these 5 patients, 2 had a reduction between 50 and 90%. Analyzing the study months separately, we found a seizure reduction of >= 50% in 26.6% of the patients during at least 1 month of treatment. Common side-effects were gastrointestinal disorders, loss of weight and fatigue. There was a considerable, non-significant improvement found in mood and QOL scores. Improvements were independent of reduction in seizure frequency, indicating that the effects of the KD reach further than seizure control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-314
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Adults
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure
  • Ketogenic diet
  • MCT diet
  • Ketosis
  • Quality of life
  • Mood
  • Tolerability

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