Effectiveness, retention, and safety of modified ketogenic diet in adults with epilepsy at a tertiary-care centre in the UK.

With the rising demand for ketogenic diet therapy in adult epilepsy, there is a need for research describing the real-life effectiveness, retention, and safety of relevant services. In this 1-year prospective cohort study we present outcomes of the first 100 referrals for modified ketogenic diet (MKD) at the UK’s largest tertiary-care epilepsy centre, where patients received dietetic review up to twice per week. Of the first 100 referrals, 42 (31 females, 11 males; mean age 36.8 [SD ± 11.4 years]) commenced MKD, having used a mean of 4 (SD ± 3) previous antiepileptic drugs. Retention rates were: 60% at 3 months, 43% at 6 months, and 29% at 12 months. 60% of patients reported an improvement in seizure frequency, 38% reported a > 50% reduction, and 13% reported a period of seizure freedom; 30% reported a worsening in seizure frequency at some point during MKD therapy. The most common reasons for discontinuing MKD were side effects and diet restrictiveness. The most common side effects were weight loss, gastrointestinal symptoms and low mood. The likelihood of discontinuing MKD was significantly decreased by experiencing an improvement in seizure frequency (p ≤ 0.001). This study demonstrates that MKD can be effective in adults, although, even with regular dietetic support, retention rates remain low, and periods of worsening seizure frequency are common.

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