A ketogenic diet can have a similar effect to drug treatment in children with epilepsy, a Cochrane review has found.
The gold standard review of current evidence found a ketogenic diet results in short to medium term benefits in seizure control in children with epilepsy, compared with compared to placebos or active control treatments.
UK researchers looked at data for diets designed to produce ketones in both adults and children with a diagnosis of epilepsy and found most of the evidence was in children.
They reviewed 17 studies in total and found at least 38% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizures compared to controls at three months, with this response maintained for up to a year.
Dr Robert Levy, study lead and consultant paediatrician at Fairfield General Hospital, said there were recognised adverse effects from the diet, but it could be a good options for some patients.
He said: ‘A ketogenic diet remains a valid option for those who have medically-intractable epilepsy or those who are not suitable for surgical intervention.’
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, CD001903