Working with your neurologist

Working with your neurologist to go beyond okay

Maybe there was a time when you felt like the number of seizures you were having was okay. Going beyond okay is about seeking the control you deserve for your partial-onset seizures. Open communication between you and your neurologist is an important step toward achieving your personal best level of seizure control. So you need to be sure you’re seeing the right kind of doctor and asking the right questions.

Choosing the right doctor for you Getting your partial-onset seizures under control starts with better conversation Considering the benefits of an epilepsy center Tips for working with your neurologist

Choosing the right doctor for you

While your primary care physician is an important part of your healthcare team, specialists, like neurologists or epileptologists, can also play a crucial role in treating your epilepsy. A neurologist is a medical doctor who is specially trained to diagnose and treat nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. An epileptologist is a neurologist who has gone on to further sub-specialize in epilepsy and its treatment.

Finding a doctor who has the experience and expertise to develop an effective, individualized treatment plan is very important. Epilepsy is a complex disorder with more than 40 distinct neurological syndromes, and getting the care you need is best handled by a doctor who specializes in treating this disease.

If you are not seeing a neurologist or an epileptologist, you can find one here.

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Getting your partial-onset seizures under control starts with a better conversation

When you visit your neurologist, you probably talk about your seizures, treatment, and side effects. That’s important. But have you ever sat down and discussed what you really want from treatment, how seizures are affecting you every day, and what your life might be like if you could reduce your partial-onset seizures? This is the kind of discussion you should be having with your neurologist.

Ask questions. Many times questions come up between visits to your neurologist. Write down all your non-urgent questions when you think of them, and take the list to your next appointment. This is a good way to make sure all your questions are answered. The Neurologist Discussion Guide can help you focus the conversation on reducing the number of seizures you are having and achieving your personal best level of partial-onset seizure control.

  • If the neurologist says something you don't understand, never hesitate to ask for further explanation. You might also want to take someone with you to your appointment to help you remember what the neurologist says. Your questions should include anything you are concerned about.

Share your concerns. Getting concerns off your chest may even provide a physical benefit by reducing anxiety and stress, which can trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy. Also, be sure to talk about your emotional well-being. Your neurologist or nurse can connect you with support groups, counselors, or other resources to help you cope with the emotional ups and downs of managing your epilepsy.

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Considering the benefits of an epilepsy center

Besides seeing a neurologist or an epileptologist, you might consider getting an evaluation and treatment at a specialized epilepsy center. One of the benefits of visiting an epilepsy center is that the treatment team is specially focused on epilepsy. They are trained to assess the full range of options, from different medicines and therapies to surgical procedures that may be able to correct the problems causing a person's epilepsy.

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Tips for working with your neurologist

Keep a seizure diary. This helps you and your neurologist identify patterns and seizure triggers, recognize the frequency and severity of seizures, and understand what was going on at the time of a seizure. Find a seizure diary here.

  • Describe your seizures (or ask a friend or family member if you cannot remember)
  • Make note of days when you missed a dose of medicine or experienced side effects. This is especially important if the medicine or dosage is being altered or if a seizure occurred because of a missed dose
  • Other events to note include any illness, major life changes or stressful situations, and, for women, the start and end dates of menstrual cycles
  • Always bring a current list of all medicines you're taking, with the name of each medicine, the dose, and how many times the medicine is taken each day
  • Be sure to mention any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal treatments you are taking to make sure there's no possibility of interactions

Give your neurologist all the details. When you see your neurologist or epileptologist, be sure to mention:

  • Any changes in your seizures
  • If you think your epilepsy treatment is helping
  • Any side effects you might be having
  • How you feel in general
  • What your treatment expectations are
  • Tell your doctor about any new medicines you are taking

Prepare ahead. Remember, treating epilepsy is a process, and it needs an ongoing discussion.

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What is VIMPAT?

VIMPAT is a prescription medicine that can be used alone or with other medicines to treat partial-onset seizures in people 17 years of age and older.

What is the most important information I should know about VIMPAT?

Do not stop taking VIMPAT without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Stopping VIMPAT suddenly can cause serious problems. Stopping seizure medicine suddenly in a patient who has epilepsy can cause seizures that will not stop.

VIMPAT can cause serious side effects, including:

1.Like other antiepileptic drugs, VIMPAT may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION (Continued)

Call a healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • attempt to commit suicide
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety
  • feeling agitated or restless
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • new or worse irritability
  • acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

2.VIMPAT may cause you to feel dizzy, have double vision, feel sleepy, or have problems with coordination and walking. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how VIMPAT affects you.

3.VIMPAT may cause you to have an irregular heartbeat or may cause you to faint. Call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • feel lightheaded
  • fainted or if you feel like you are going to faint

4.VIMPAT is a federally controlled substance (C-V) because it can be abused or lead to drug dependence. Keep your VIMPAT in a safe place, to protect it from theft. Never give your VIMPAT to anyone else, because it may harm them.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking VIMPAT?

Before you take VIMPAT, tell your healthcare provider, if you:

  • have or have had depression, mood problems or suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • have heart problems
  • have kidney problems
  • have liver problems
  • have abused prescription medicines, street drugs or alcohol in the past
  • have any other medical problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

What are the possible side effects of VIMPAT?

See “What is the most important information I should know about VIMPAT?”.

VIMPAT may cause other serious side effects including:

VIMPAT may cause a serious allergic reaction that may affect your skin or other parts of your body such as your liver or blood cells. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • a skin rash, hives
  • fever or swollen glands that do not go away
  • shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, or dark urine.

The most common side effects of VIMPAT include:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • double vision
  • nausea

These are not all of the possible side effects of VIMPAT. For more information ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects to UCB, Inc. at UCBCares (1-844-599-CARE [2273]).

Please see additional patient information in the Medication Guide. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your condition or your treatment. For more information, go to www.vimpat.com or call 1-844-599-2273.


Contact Information

If you have any questions or want more information, please contact UCBCares at 1-844-599-CARE (2273) or UCBCares@UCB.com. We're here to help.

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