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.

Tian X, Chen J, Zhang J, Yang X, Ji T, Zhang Y, Wu Y, Fang F, Wu X, Zhang Y. The Efficacy of Ketogenic Diet in 60 Chinese Patients with Dravet Syndrome. Front Neurol. 2019 June 13;10:625. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00625.