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J Neurol. 2018 Aug;265(8):1934-1936. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-8943-3. Epub 2018 Jun 21.

Can epilepsy be treated by antibiotics?

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Department of Neurology, Academic Center for Epileptology, Kempenhaeghe & Maastricht UMC+, Sterkselseweg 65, 5591 VE, Heeze, The Netherlands.
Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


There is mounting evidence for the role of the gut microbiota and gut-brain interactions in neurological diseases. We present six patients with drug-resistant epilepsy who attained temporary seizure freedom during antibiotic treatment. The effect on seizure frequency waned within 2 weeks after cessation of antibiotic treatment. We hypothesized that antibiotic treatments may have a short-term effect, through gut microbiota disruption, on gut-brain interactions and ultimately seizure frequency. This observed impact of antibiotics on seizure frequency hints at a possible role of the gut microbiota in epilepsy and its manifestations. This begs the question: can epilepsy be treated by antibiotics? Or perhaps in a broader sense: can alterations in the gut microbiota be used as a treatment modality in drug-resistant epilepsy? This concept and the six intriguing cases provide interesting leads for epilepsy management.


Antibiotics; Epilepsy; Ketogenic diet; Microbiome

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