This was a retrospective study, gathering information on Dravet patients who, over the last nine years, had followed a strict ketogenic diet for at least 12 weeks. In total, there were 60 children identified. The duration of their ketogenic diets ranged from 12 weeks to 54 months, with a median duration of 44 weeks. In all cases, the diet was an add-on therapy, to a regimen of 2 to 4 drugs.
Fifty-one of the patients saw improvement in seizure frequency, with about half of them achieving seizure reduction of over 50%. The response was rapid, with most seeing effects within two weeks of starting the diet. In addition, about 20% of patients showed measurable improvements in EEG patterns; about 40% saw improvements in cognitive function; and about 20% saw improvements in motor skills. Adverse reactions were manageable, with the most common being constipation. For 9 of the patients, there was a “honeymoon effect” – the initial improvements in seizure frequency became reduced over the course of time on the diet.