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ISRN Pediatr. 2012;2012:263139. doi: 10.5402/2012/263139. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

The use of ketogenic diet in pediatric patients with epilepsy.

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Department of Pharmacy, Moses H. Cone Hospital, Greensboro, NC 27401-1020, USA.


A ketogenic diet is a nonpharmacologic treatment strategy to control refractory epilepsy in children. Although this diet has been used successfully to reduce seizures since the 1920s, the anticonvulsant mechanism of ketosis remains unknown. The initiation of the diet requires an average four-day hospitalization to achieve ketosis in the patient as well as to provide thorough education on diet maintenance for both the patient and the caregivers. A ketogenic diet, consisting of low carbohydrate and high fat intake, leaves little room for additional carbohydrates supplied by medications. Patients on ketogenic diets who exceed their daily carbohydrate limit have the risk of seizure relapse, necessitating hospital readmission to repeat the diet initiation process. These patients are at a high risk for diversion from the diet. Patients admitted to the hospital setting are often initiated on multiple medications, and many hospital systems are not equipped with appropriate monitoring systems to prevent clinicians from introducing medications with high carbohydrate contents. Pharmacists have the resources and the expertise to help identify and prevent the initiation of medications with high carbohydrate content in patients on ketogenic diets.

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