Atkins: An effective alternative to the ketogenic diet for epilepsy

Among patients with epilepsy who follow a ketogenic diet, complete seizure control after 2 years is achieved in 24% — a 90% reduction in seizures is achieved in 52%. Unfortunately, only about 50% of patients (often children) can stay with the diet.

Now, a study reported during the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society concludes that seizure control with the Atkins diet is a possible alternative.

  • At 1 month, almost half of those who tried the Atkins diet had greater than 50% reduction seizures — 7% had more than 90% reduction.
  • By 6 months, a third of the patients had greater than 50% seizure reduction — 7% had more than 90% reduction
  • About half remained on the diet

Dr. Eric Kossoff from Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and the study’s lead author observed, “If the diet is going to work, it will be evident by 2 months.”

In an earlier study of the Atkins diet in children?

  • 18 of 20 (80%) completed the 6-month study
  • 14 chose to remain on the diet afterward
  • At 6 months, 6 out of 10 patients had greater than 50% improvement — about a third had better than 90% improvement in seizures
  • 4 patients were seizure free

“A modified Atkins diet is an effective alternative therapy for intractable pediatric epilepsy,” says Dr. Kossoff.

But in adults and children, it still requires strong commitment to adhere to the diet.

2/25/07 16:38 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.