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The Power of Modified Atkins Diet for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy


Clinical trial shows that the Modified Atkins Diet is effective in reducing frequency of seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy patients

Drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), also known as refractory epilepsy, is a condition where seizures in patients do not respond to standard anti-seizure medications. It affects around 30% of people with epilepsy, making it a challenging and concerning issue. Despite trying multiple drugs, these individuals continue to experience seizures, affecting their daily lives and quality of life.

Management options for drug-resistant epilepsy include alternative medications, dietary therapies like the ketogenic diet, and surgical interventions, such as brain surgery or neuromodulation. People with drug-resistant epilepsy need to work closely with healthcare professionals to find the most suitable treatment plan and improve their seizure control.

Clinical Trial

The Modified Atkins diet (MAD) has emerged as a potential adjuvant therapy for DRE, particularly in children. However, the evidence supporting its use in adults remains limited. To address this gap, a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted at a tertiary care referral center.

The study investigated whether MAD, combined with standard drug therapy (SDT), was more effective than SDT alone in reducing seizure frequency and improving psychological outcomes in adolescents and adults with DRE (nonsurgical cases). Between August 2015 and April 2019, 243 patients with DRE aged 10-55 were screened for eligibility. Out of these, 160 patients (80 adults and 80 adolescents) were randomly assigned to either the intervention arm (SDT plus MAD) or the control arm (SDT alone).

At the start of the trial, both groups had comparable demographic and clinical characteristics. The primary outcome assessed was whether there was a >50% reduction in seizure frequency at six months. The secondary outcomes included measuring the patient's quality of life (QOL), behavioral changes, adverse events, and withdrawal rate from the study.


At the 6-month mark, the results were promising. The intervention group (SDT plus MAD) demonstrated a significant improvement with a >50% reduction in seizure frequency in 26.2% of patients. In contrast, the control group (SDT alone) showed this reduction in only 2.5% of patients.

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Moreover, the intervention group also experienced a significant improvement in QOL compared to the control group. The MAD group's QOL score was 52.1 ± 17.6, whereas the control group's QOL score was 42.5 ± 16.4 (mean difference 9.6; 95% CI 4.3 to 14.9; p < 0.001). The behavioral scores showed a similar trend, with the intervention group exhibiting improvement compared to the control group (65.6 ± 7.9 vs. 71.4 ± 8.1, p = 0.015).

The study demonstrated that MAD, as an adjuvant therapy with SDT, positively affected seizure frequency and behavioral problems in individuals with DRE, both adolescents and adults. The side effects of MAD were minimal, with only a few patients experiencing weight loss and diarrhea.


The findings suggest that MAD is a promising and effective modality for controlling seizures in DRE patients without surgery. However, further research is needed to assess its efficacy with biomarkers and explore the underlying mechanisms of its action through descriptive metabolomics studies.

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.