FYCOMPA® is a prescription medicine that is used with other medications to treat primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (also known as grand mal seizures) and partial-onset seizures (also known as focal seizures) in people who are 12 years of age or older. Keep reading to understand these different seizures.
- What is a seizure?
- What are the different types of seizures?
- Why do seizures happen?
- What may cause a seizure to happen when it does?
- What are uncontrolled seizures?
What is a seizure?
Nerve cells in the brain send signals to each other. During a seizure, these signals are not normal. There may be too many or too few signals. Or the signals might be different than usual. When this happens, you can have changes in how you move, act, or feel. You also might not be aware of what’s going on around you.
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What are the different types of seizures?
There are many different types of seizures. The 2 types of seizures that FYCOMPA is used to treat are primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (also called grand mal seizures) and partial-onset seizures (also known as focal seizures).
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Primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures
- Each seizure affects both sides of the brain at the same time
- Includes 2 parts—the “tonic” or stiffening part, and the “clonic” or jerking movement part
- Each seizure starts in 1 part of the brain
- Where the seizure starts is different for every person
- May cause a change in movement or awareness
- May also become a tonic-clonic seizure, which involves both sides of the brain
Each type of seizure causes different symptoms. That's why it's important for your doctor to find out what type of seizure you have.
Why do seizures happen?
People have seizures for different reasons. Your doctor may be able to help you figure out what caused you to have seizures. But sometimes the cause is not known. Here are some of the possible causes:
- Loss of oxygen at birth
- Infections in the brain
- Brain tumors (cancer)
- Head or brain injury
- Blocks in the brain
- Nerve disorders from conditions like Alzheimer's disease
- Genetic disorders
What may cause a seizure to happen when it does?
Some people’s seizures may have triggers—certain things that cause their seizures to happen. Trying to learn your triggers is an important part of understanding your seizures.
- Specific times of day or night
- Times of fever or illness
- In women, around the menstrual cycle or other hormonal changes
- Drinking alcohol
- Flashing bright lights or patterns
- Specific foods or products
- Too much caffeine
- Not taking medication
- Not eating well—low blood sugar
- Not getting enough sleep
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What are uncontrolled seizures?
Everyone has different responses to each medication. Some people take medication but continue to have seizures. When this happens, the seizures are called “uncontrolled seizures.”
If you experience primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures or partial-onset seizures and need additional control, ask your doctor if FYCOMPA may be right for you.