New England School of Homeopathy

General Thoughts on the Treatment of Seizure Disorders

by Paul Herscu ND, MPH

When I first started studying homeopathy, I learned about many remedies for the treatment of seizure disorders and I listened to many people lecture on the topic. I heard them talk about Cuprum has this and Cicuta has that, yet it seemed like the vast majority of the actual patients were not doing all that well. It wasn’t about knowing the symptoms of the remedy but rather how to look at the case and see the individual. Like with all patients, it is important to know when to look beyond the presenting symptoms of the pathology, in this case the seizures, and to focus instead on the whole patient.

The classification of seizures in the allopathic world changes every few years. This has become very important with regard to the selection, dosing and combination of allopathic medications. Likewise homeopaths need to develop a protocol for the successful treatment of seizure disorders using homeopathic medications. In reviewing my own cases, I have developed a classification system for seizures which informs homeopathic treatment; I believe this classification approach will work for some time to come and should help those treating patients with seizure disorders.

1. Patients who have seizures and no other problems.  Idiopathic seizures. CT scan and EEG are normal. Many people with seizures fall into this category.This classification system involves three categories:

2. Patients for whom there is a reason for the seizure activity such as injury, scar tissue, or tumor.

3. Patients with seizures where there is an underlying metabolic or genetic problem and the seizures are only part of a larger symptom complex.

 Thoughts on remedy selection for the different classifications:

Group 1– the symptoms of the seizures are not so severe, not so striking. For the vast majority of these patients, their other symptoms are clearly those of a commonly prescribed, polychrest remedy. Give that remedy.

Group 2– These patients may also need a polychrest, however, the more severe the seizures are, the more likely they will need a more intense remedy, what I would call a Phase Four remedy (see pages 15-25, on The Map of Hierarchy in my book Stramonium With an Introduction to Analysis using Cycles and Segments for a complete description of this concept). Perhaps there are some key symptoms of the polychrest missing, and some good confirming symptoms of a smaller remedy. Keep in mind, that it is important to base the prescription on the general state of the patient rather than just the seizure itself.

Remedies aimed strictly at the seizure tend to fail; I know this from personal experience. If you are giving a non-polychrest remedy i.e. a remedy with a smaller sphere of influence, one that is geared very specifically for neurological complaints, the patient should exhibit symptoms of that remedy beyond only its seizure symptoms; you would want to see some confirmatory symptoms outside the neurological ones. If you find such symptoms, you can feel confident prescribing a ‘seizure remedy’ first such as Cuprum, Stramonium, Cicuta, etc. Give one dose of a 200c. Do not worry about drugs antidoting the remedy.

Group 3 – In these patients, you will often need a remedy known for seizures.  You may need to go through a succession of remedies such as Tuberculinum, Medorrhinum, Stramonium. Don’t be quick to change the remedy, but don’t be afraid to, either. You may need to start with polychrest and go to more severe remedies, or vice versa. At the end of their life they don’t have many energy resources left. However they will live a lot longer than other patients with the same diagnosis. Give the lowest possible potency that will do the trick so then you won’t run out of potencies.

Likely Outcomes:

1. People in first group will get better. All their symptoms go away and the seizures do, too.

2. Some patients in the second group will get better with the remedy in all regards. In other people, many of their symptoms may improve but they will still have seizures. They may have to stay on seizure medication, which does not seem to interfere with the remedies. Repeat EEGs can show improvement, yet the remedy may not cure the seizures. Often the patient will be able to get by on less medication, thereby suffering fewer side effects and less breakthrough seizures.

3. What you see with the third group is that you give a remedy and they get suddenly better and then suddenly worse again. This pattern repeats over and over till each time the highs are not so high and the lows are lower. One day they are doing great and then the next day die suddenly. The treatment is strictly palliative, it will most likely not cure the patient in a permanent fashion.

Treating patients with seizure disorders presents the homeopath with many challenges. Having a structured way of assessing such a patient should help you with clarity and confidence in prescribing.