Surgery & Dravet Syndrome: Topics of Interest for Caregivers

Preparing for surgery can be a time fraught with worry, and anxieties can be compounded when your loved one already has underlying health concerns. DSF has compiled some tips, resources, and considerations to help you feel more prepared if your loved one with Dravet syndrome needs to have a surgical procedure.

Surgeries and procedures are fairly common in individuals with Dravet syndrome and, in general, there are not major issues specific to surgery and Dravet syndrome. However, when your loved one has complex health needs, additional preparation and communication can help reduce stress and health risks.

Some common surgeries and procedures individuals with Dravet syndrome might encounter:

  • Feeding tube (g- or j-tube)
  • MRI
  • Dental procedures
  • Implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS)
  • Less commonly, other palliative epilepsy surgery

This guide should not be used in place of conversations with health care professionals managing the care of the patient with Dravet syndrome. Caregivers should use this guide to help inform conversations as part of the health care team, working with medical professionals to determine the best procedures, medications, and precautions given the individual patient’s medical history and the intended outcome from each procedure. 

Read more in the tabs below about specific topics related to surgery and other procedures. Remember that having conversations with the health care team both prior to and on the day of the procedure is the best way to mitigate any issues.
  • Ask lots of questions and discuss your concerns. Make sure you understand the procedure that is being considered and why it is necessary. You should also ask what to expect on the day of the procedure and during recovery. You can find more information and resources in the tabs below on some common procedures individuals with Dravet syndrome encounter including types of epilepsy surgery and feeding tubes if you are still in the learning or decision process.
  • Make sure the surgery team has a list of all the medications the patient is taking. Some medications used during surgeries, procedures, or imaging techniques may interact with daily medications so it is very important for the surgical team to have clear information on medications and doses. The tabs below discuss drug interactions and considerations for NPO (nothing by mouth) restrictions in more detail to help you have an informed conversation with the health care team about medications.
  • Discuss any special dietary therapies the patient is currently on. Fasting before and during a procedure can impact the strict dietary regimen of the ketogenic or other similar diets. Additionally, IV medications may need to be adjusted in accordance with dietary needs, so it is very important for the health care team to be aware of dietary therapies for patients with epilepsy. The tabs below provide some additional information on navigating dietary therapies during medical procedures
  • Bring your Seizure Action Plan and share with the health care team. Even if you have shared it before, it’s helpful to have again on the day of and to review seizure triggers, like lighting and temperature changes, with the health care team.
  • Bring a list of medications and share with the health care team. Find more information below on medications and procedures.
  • Discuss the post-operative recovery. Find more info below on managing care and medication immediately following a procedure.
  •  Prepare for the surgery to take longer than expected. Your surgical team should prepare you for an expected time frame for the procedure to last. However, often unexpected delays may push the start time for a scheduled procedure back. Remember to plan ahead by packing extra supplies and medications for several hours longer than you might expect to be away. Have a plan for how long medication doses can be withheld ahead of time with your doctors to reduce the risk of breakthrough seizures.
  • You may want to be prepared in the event of an unexpected admission. If you are having an out-patient procedure, it still might make sense to pack a few extra items in case you need to be kept overnight for observation. Think about a change of clothes and minimal toiletries for everyone as well as any additional comfort items. Carefully consider which medications to bring with you, particularly if any regular medications are sourced from a specialty pharmacy and may be difficult for a medical center to quickly have on hand.
  • Bring comfort items for your loved one. Having a surgical procedure can be anxiety provoking for everyone and can be particularly disorienting if age or a cognitive disability prevent your loved one from fully understanding what to expect. Bringing some comforting and familiar items from home may help to ease anxieties on the day of the procedure. A favorite toy, book, or blanket can help to provide some stability and sense of calm. While these items will likely not be able to stay with them during the procedure, they can stay with them during the pre-surgical wait and preparation, and then the items will be there when the procedure is complete.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself. The majority of your focus when your child or loved one is having a surgical procedure will be on their safety and security. However, do not forget to take care of yourself. It may be a good idea to pack snacks and water to keep your energy up while you wait for the procedure to be completed. Bringing distractions like a book, electronic tablet, or other quiet activity can help to occupy your mind and pass the time while the procedure is being done.

During surgery, or another invasive procedure like an MRI, a patient may need to be put on medications that they do not normally take. Some medications can interact and cause regular medications to work differently. This section will discuss many commonly utilized medications in the context of surgery and other procedures, as well as medication that is commonly used in Dravet syndrome, focusing on potential risks of interactions that may be of concern. This guide should not be used in place of conversations with health care professionals managing the patient with Dravet syndrome’s care. Caregivers should use this guide to help inform conversations as part of the health care team, working with medical professionals to determine the best medications to use given the individual patient’s medical history and the intended outcome from each procedure.

Individuals with Dravet syndrome are often already taking several daily medications to help control seizures and address other comorbidities. It is very important to give the surgical team a list of the current medications your child or loved one is taking. You should discuss your current medication regimen with the surgical team. Upon admission, give the surgical team a list of current medications.

Important information for your medication list includes:

        • Name of medication (including brand or generic formulation)
        • Dose (mg instead of mL will help to prevent confusion)
        • Frequency (how many times per day is the medication taken)
        • Route of administration (by mouth, G-tube, J-tube, etc)
        • Specific times administered (including time of last dose)
        • Any special methods or notes for administering

Some medications may increase the risk of seizures or make current seizure medications act differently. For this reason, it is particularly important to have a Seizure Action Plan developed with the patient’s neurologist with explicit instructions for rescue interventions within a medical setting (including which medications should be avoided). Carry a copy with the patient at all times and be sure to share a copy of the plan with the surgical or medical team. For more information on Seizure Action Plans, you can visit the Seizure Action Plan Coalition’s website.

Medications used in Imaging Procedures:

It is common for patients with Dravet syndrome and other forms of epilepsy to have imaging procedures, like MRIs, to allow doctors to better understand the structure of their brain and how they may be related to their epilepsy and symptoms. Some medications used for imaging procedures (like MRIs) help to make parts of the body easier to see in the resulting images; these types of medications are called “contrast agents.” Patients may also need a medication to help decrease agitation while they are being required to lie still for a procedure for an extended length of time. Many commonly used contrast agents, and more rarely medications to decrease agitation, have the potential to lower the seizure threshold, meaning a seizure could be more likely to occur when this medication is used in any individual. Discuss any concerns you have with the medical team performing the procedure; the patient’s medical team will choose the most appropriate medications based on their full individual medical history and the type of procedure being performed. It is very important to have a Seizure Action Plan developed with the patient’s neurologist with explicit instructions for rescue interventions within a medical setting (including which medications should be avoided). Carry a copy with the patient at all times and be sure to share a copy of the plan with the surgical or medical team.  A list of common medications used in imaging procedures, their purpose, and an indication of whether that medication may lower the seizure threshold are all included in the PDF available for download below.

Anti-Seizure and other Common Medications and Potential Interactions with Contrast Agents:

As we discussed above, some contrast agents may lower the seizure threshold for any individual. In addition, some contrast agents may interact with medications that are commonly used in the treatment of Dravet syndrome. The patient’s health care team will make the decision with you based on the patient’s full medical history and the procedure being done. If your physician determines the best contrast agent is one that does have an increased risk of seizures, they may recommend a supplementary dose of an anti-seizure medication prior to the procedure. Again, be sure to have a Seizure Action Plan with explicit instructions for a seizure emergency within a medical setting. A list of common anti-seizure medications, as well as other common medications, and their potential interaction with contrast agents is included in the PDF available for download below.

Considerations for Commonly Used Medications in Surgical and Other Procedures:

During surgery or complex procedures, it is very important that patients are comfortable. Many medications are needed to achieve this level of comfort. Below is a brief overview of the types of medications and some points of concern. The PDF included at the end of this section includes tables to list the specific medications and provides additional details of interactions or topics to consider.

(1) pain medications: IV pain medications are often given to keep patients comfortable during the surgery. Intravenous lidocaine should be avoided in Dravet syndrome, as it is a sodium channel blocker that could worsen seizures; however, subcutaneous or topical lidocaine (used just below or on the skin)  should not be an issue and these routes of administration are still reasonable to use. The common anti-seizure medication for Dravet syndrome, stiripentol (Diacomit), can increase the amount of the pain medication sufentanil in the body.

(2) sedation medications: Sedation medications are used during surgery or procedures to ensure patients remain asleep. Some sedation medications may lower the seizure threshold or others may interact with specific anti-seizure medications and change the way the body processes those medications.

(3) paralytics: In order to have a successful procedure, patients have to remain still. Paralytics are used to keep patients still. Some paralytics may interact with the anti-seizure medication carbamazepine, which is not generally used in Dravet syndrome as it can worsen seizures through its action on sodium channels.

(4) anti-seizure medications: During surgery, IV anti-seizure medications may be needed to prevent seizing during longer procedures. Fosphenytoin is generally avoided for use in Dravet syndrome because it may worsen seizures.

(5) reversal agents: Everyone reacts differently to different medications. To prevent patients from becoming too sleepy or too still, the surgery team will have reversal agents on hand. A few of these medications, like flumazenil, may need to be carefully considered before use in an individual with epilepsy as it could lower the efficacy of some anti-seizure medications or lower the seizure threshold.

(6) antibiotics: Antibiotics are an extremely important way of preventing infections from complicated surgeries. They can be given before and after the surgery, either via IV or injected directly to the site of infection risk. There are no pertinent drug interactions with antibiotics and anti-seizure medications.

(7) stabilizers: A patient’s body can react in many different ways to a surgical procedure. The surgery team will have access to several stabilizers to keep vitals all in equilibrium. Some stabilizers may interact with specific anti-seizure medications.

(8) anti-inflammatory agents: During and after the procedure, the help of some steroids may be needed to decrease inflammation. They will typically start with a higher dose and slowly decrease down over time. These medications may be rough on the stomach, so they are typically given with some tummy protection (anti-acids). There are no pertinent drug interactions with steroids, anti-acids and anti-seizure medications.


Download PDF: “Drug Interactions: Considerations for Surgery and Imaging”


Often prior to a surgery or procedure a patient may need to restrict intake of food and water. This may be called “NPO” or “nothing by mouth,” but also can include food or water administered through enteral feeding tubes. Some procedures allow more flexibility for administration of medications, while others are very strict and all oral intake must be limited.

First, check with the patient’s physician to determine if oral medications are allowed prior to the procedure. If possible, give their anti-seizure medication just before their procedure.

Anti-seizure medications work best when doses are not missed. However, sometimes delays in doses may be unavoidable due to medical procedures or surgeries. Luckily, there are several options to optimize seizure therapy and reduce the risk of seizures. Each patient and each case are different. The most appropriate course of action will be individualized on a case-by-case basis by their physician/neurologist. The information provided is for your reference so a more informed discussion may be had with your medical care team.

If the patient is unable to take anything by mouth, your physician may choose one of the options below:

  1. Skip or delay a dose (dependent on the medication and how long it stays in the body)
  2. Utilize the intravenous formulation, if available
  3. Utilize alternative routes, if available and appropriate
  4. Utilize IV benzodiazepines (i.e., diazepam, lorazepam, midazolam) in the interim
  • If a patient has not previously tolerated or is unable to take a specific benzodiazepine, their physician may consider other IV alternatives such as valproic acid, phenobarbital, or levetiracetam.
  • Several medications (e.g., carbamazepine, clobazam, lacosamide, levetiracetam, pregabalin, zonisamide, valproic acid) have information on alternative routes in animal studies or small case reports. While some of these are promising, human data is lacking and a recommendation for using an alternative route based on available information is not possible at this time.
  • In instances where no alternative routes are available or if alternate routes available are inappropriate, use of IV lorazepam is reasonable.

Below find a PDF that includes the above information and an additional table describing alternative ways a medical team can consider administering common anti-epileptic medications if an oral dose must be delayed and guidance on how long a dose could be delayed before an alternative would need to be considered.


Download PDF: Alternative Routes for NPO AEDs


Patients on special diets, such as the ketogenic, low glycemic, or modified Adkins diet, may need to consider some additional things to make sure they maintain appropriate dietary guidelines in the pre- and post-operative timeline. These considerations have been developed with guidance from pharmacists, but are not intended to replace discussions and decision-making with the patients health care team. This information can also be downloaded as a PDF containing supplementary information at the bottom of this section.

On Admission:

You should provide the surgical team with the following information:

  • Information about their specific ketogenic regimen
  • Nutritional status
  • Caloric intake
  • Contact information for their ketogenic dietitian / hospital team.
  • Blood glucose and ketone testing equipment (if they use this at home).

Make sure the team places a glucose/dextrose allergy as an extra precaution to prevent carbohydrate containing products from being given.

Before Surgery:

Before surgery, the patient may be placed NPO, or nothing by mouth. Instead of food, they will have continuous carbohydrate free IV fluids.

The following measurements may be taken before surgery:

  • Weight
  • Urine ketones
  • Complete blood cell count
  • Basic metabolic panel to assess serum electrolytes, bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium, albumin, prealbumin levels and kidney function
  • Blood gases such as pH and bicarbonate to assess acid-base safety
  • Liver function tests
  • Lactate
  • Β-hydroxybutyrate

If the patient was experiencing side effects to the ketogenic diet, the following should be tested before surgery:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Lipid profile
  • Urinalysis

During Surgery:

The goals during surgery include:

  • Maintaining ketosis
  • Avoiding high carbohydrate content
  • Keeping the patient’s serum glucose, electrolytes, and pH stable

Patients will be placed on continuous carbohydrate free IV fluids during surgery as well. Normal saline is preferred. There have not been many studies on ketogenic patients in surgery, but the largest study to date found that patients on the ketogenic diet can safely stay on carbohydrate-free IV fluids for procedures lasting less than 1.5 hours. For procedures lasting more than 3 hours the most common side effect is a significant decrease in pH. The surgical team can help keep the pH stable by giving IV bicarbonate. It is important that blood pH and bicarbonate are monitored during procedures lasting more than 3 hours and administering IV bicarbonate where necessary.

Monitoring During Surgery:

Every 2-3 hours:

  • pH
  • Glucose (treat if <40 mg/dL and symptomatic)
  • Bicarbonate
  • Electrolytes

Medications:

Patients may need some IV medications. Make sure to let your surgical team know that the patient cannot have dextrose or glucose. You can download a list of some common relevant medications and the recommended diluents in the link at the end of this section.

Steroids such as dexamethasone may increase blood glucose levels. Blood glucose should be monitored and other options should be explored to help with the interruption in ketosis.

Transfusions:

Transfusion of blood products (including whole blood, packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, and cryoprecipitate) might contain significant and variable amounts of carbohydrate both from the donor’s plasma and preservative solutions. Although transfusion may lead to loss of ketosis, if should not be withheld based on that alone.

After Surgery:

  • Continue continuous carbohydrate free IV fluids and advance diet as tolerated.
  • Continue monitoring pH and bicarbonate as clinically indicated.
  • Restart ketogenic diet as soon as possible.

Download PDF: Ketogenic Diet Considerations for Surgery


Additional Resources:


References:
1. Valencia I, Pfeifer H, Thiele EA. (2002) General anesthesia and the ketogenic diet: clinical experience in nine patients. Epilepsia 43.5: 525-529.
2. Lexicomp Online, Pediatric and Neonatal Lexi-Drugs Online, Hudson, Ohio: UpToDate, Inc.; 2013; April 15, 2013.
3. Trissel’s 2™ Clinical Pharmaceutics Database. Clinical Pharmacology [database online]. Tampa, FL: Elsevier, Inc. http://www.clinicalpharmacology-ip.com. Updated 2015. Accessed December 5th, 2020
4. Conover ZR, Talai A, Klockau KS, Richard J, Chatterjee D. (2020) Perioperative management of children on ketogenic dietary therapies. Anesthesia & Analgesia 131(6), 1872-1882.

Immediately following surgery or other procedures requiring sedation, patients are kept under observation as they “recover” from the anesthesia. Health care personnel will be monitoring their vitals during this time and waiting for the patient to reach their baseline before allowing them to leave the surgical recovery unit.

  • It may be necessary for the caregiver to be present in recovery to help the team assess the patient’s state. For patients who are non-verbal or have trouble with clear communication, it may be difficult for health care staff who are unfamiliar with the patient to gauge if they are back at their baseline. Conversations with the health care team prior to the procedure can help to ease this transitional recovery time.
  • Remind the team if temperature changes are a seizure trigger. Individual’s with Dravet syndrome often have difficulty regulating their temperature, and elevated temperatures are a common seizure trigger. Controlling body temperature can be difficult during surgery because surgical suites are often kept at cooler ambient temperatures. The health care team will be monitoring the patient’s vitals, including body temperature, throughout surgery, but it can be helpful to let them know if the patient has difficulties with body temperature regulation. In the recovery room, they health care team may work to keep a patient warm and comfortable using pre-warmed blankets or other methods. If fast changes in ambient temperature, or exposure to very warm temperatures under a pre-warmed blanket could be a seizure trigger for your child/adult with Dravet syndrome, be sure to communicate that with the health care team that is overseeing their care on the day of the procedure.
  • Medication administration. For some procedures, an overnight stay in the hospital after leaving the recovery room may be necessary, while other procedures may allow the patient to go home. Depending on the length of recovery and type of surgery, daily medications for seizure prevention may need to be administered in alternative routes. You an download these guides that cover many common medications, particularly those used in epilepsy and Dravet syndrome, including what alternative options may be available to administer the medications through enteral feeding tube or IV routes.

Download PDF: Alternative Routes for NPO AEDs

Download PDF: Medication Administration Through Feeding Tubes


Surgery in epilepsy is sometimes considered for patients with intractable epilepsy, whose seizures are not well-controlled. Palliative epilepsy surgery is performed to help reduce the seizure burden for these patients. In general, epilepsy surgery is more effective for focal or partial seizures that originate in specific regions of the brain and do not spread globally or come from multiple areas throughout the brain. In Dravet syndrome, while initial seizure activity can appear to be more focal in origin, the underlying genetic cause and usual progression to generalized seizures have led to less successful outcomes for individuals with Dravet syndrome following palliative epilepsy surgery (Bremer et al, 2012). However, while procedures to surgically alter the physical connections of the brain have been less successful, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has had more varied success among patients with Dravet syndrome, in many cases improving seizure control.

  • Vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, is an implantable device that stimulates the vagus nerve.
    • VNS uses mild electrical pulses to help regulate the electrical activity in the brain. Regular pulses help to reduce the baseline risk of seizures and an external magnet can be used to activate the device during an active seizure to help stop the seizure.
    • While still generally thought to be more effective for treating focal or partial seizures, VNS is still commonly used by patients with Dravet syndrome with varied success.
    • Every patient is unique, and while some patients experience a reduction in seizures after VNS, there are also patients for whom the surgery is not successful. A 2016 study reported 4 out of 6 individuals with Dravet syndrome had a >50% reduction in seizures following VNS (Dlougy et al 2016), but a 2012 study reported only 1 patient out of 13 who had similar seizure reductions after VNS surgery (Bremer et al 2012).
    • In a North American Consensus Study, VNS was considered a third line treatment consideration for individuals with Dravet syndrome. The panel of expert clinicians reached moderate agreement that VNS should be considered after failure of first- and second-line treatments (Wirrell et al 2017).
    • You can read more about VNS Therapy from the Epilepsy Foundation or The Brain Recovery Project.
  • Other epilepsy surgeries, such as a temporal lobectomy or corpus callosotomy have much less evidence of success in Dravet syndrome.
    • As mentioned above, these types of surgeries are often more successful in patients with focal or partial seizures where at-risk brain regions can be identified.
    • Even in instances where seizures appeared localized in origin, patients with Dravet syndrome appeared to be less responsive to these types of surgical interventions leaving the researchers to conclude that patients with Dravet syndrome are not ideal candidates for epilepsy surgery even when the pre-operative work-up suggests focal lesions that should be responsive to surgery (Barba et al 2014 <2 patients>, Vezyroglou et al 2020 <3 patients>, Skjei et al 2015 <6 patients>).
    • There have been rare instances where patients with Dravet syndrome have seen benefit following corpus callosotomy (Dlougy et al 2016).
    • Additionally, some researchers have suggested that while patients with Dravet syndrome may not be ideal candidates for effective epilepsy surgery, other SCN1A-related epilepsy syndromes may still find success with these types of approaches (Vezyroglou et al 2020).

If you are considering surgical intervention for your child, it is important to have a surgical evaluation done at a facility that is a level 4 pediatric epilepsy center and with a team who is familiar with Dravet syndrome and its trajectory and complexities. The Brain Recovery Project offers helpful guidelines on surgical evaluation to assure that you understand all of your options before making this difficult decision.

References:
Barba et al 2014, Epilepsia; doi: 10.1111/epi.12658
Bremer et al 2012, Acta Neurol Scand; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404-2011.01609.x
Dlougy et al 2016, Child Nerv Syst; doi 10.1007/s00381-016-3201-4
Skjei et al 2015, J Neurosurg Pediatr; doi: 10.3171/2015.5.PEDS14551
Vezyroglou et al 2020, Develop Med & Child Neurology; doi: 10.1111/dmcn14588
Wirrell et al 2017, Pediatric Neurology; doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2017.01.025

Individuals with Dravet syndrome may be smaller in stature and weight than the average for their age group, and this disparity may increase with age. Caregivers regularly report issues with decreased appetite as well as decreased muscle tone that may affect the patient’s ability to eat and drink. Additionally, some seizure medications can affect appetite, metabolism, or nutrient absorption. It is not uncommon for patients to have gastronomy tubes, also know as g-tubes or PEG tubes, placed surgically if poor muscle tone or appetite affects nutrient intake and overall growth. These tubes allow for feeding as well as for delivery of oral medications, and may be placed temporarily or permanently depending on the patient’s needs.

The Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation and myTubeFeeding are sources for additional information and resources related to feeding tubes.

The ease of administering important medication can be a primary benefit of feeding tubes for individuals with Dravet syndrome. Below find some basic tips related to medication administration via feeding tube and then download the PDF at the end to find a breakdown of medication-specific information.

Miscellaneous tips for medication administration via feeding tubes:1-8

  • Product choices:
    • Generally, products that are extended release or delayed release should not be crushed. There are a few exceptions, outlined below.
    • If using a liquid formulation, elixirs and suspensions may be less likely to clump with enteral nutrition compared to syrups.
    • Some liquids may contain high amounts of sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol, malitol) or have a high osmolality. Both of these can increase the risk of developing abdominal cramping, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. These side effects can be reduced via preparation methods such as further dilution or switching to an alternative medication formulation. This risk of diarrhea is higher when medications are administered via jejunostomy routes.
    • If the medication is intended for administration in the cheek or under the tongue, continue to use via those routes. Using these products through enteral tubes may reduce medication efficacy.
    • It is recommended to use sterile or filtered water for preparation and flushing of medications.
  • Administration:
    • If multiple medications need to be administered, only administer one medication at a time unless your provider advises you differently.
    • Flush with at least 5 to 10 mL water between each medication administration.
  • Flushing:
    • Regular flushing of the tube will prevent clogging and help prolong the life of the enteral feeding tube.
    • Pulsatile flushing can create turbulence within the feeding tube. This can “clean” the inner walls and help keep the tube from clogging.
    • Water is the best fluid to flush tubing. Sometimes, warm water may help prevent clogging.
    • Anecdotally, soda and soda water have been used to unclog enteral tubes. However, caution must be used with this method as the acidic nature of these liquids could further clog the tube by causing feed clumping.

General crush and mix recommendations for administration of tablets via feeding tube:1, 2, 6, 7

  1. Stop enteral feed and flush.
  2. Place the tablet in the barrel of an appropriate size and type of syringe (usually, 30 to 50 mL syringes will suffice). May crush tablet within syringe.
  3. Draw up specified volume (per medication table below) within the syringe.
  4. Allow tablet(s) to disperse.
  5. Give medication.
  6. Draw up specified flush volume (per medication table below) in the same syringe. Shake well to ensure any residual medication is not left within the syringe.
  7. Give this volume to ensure the full dose has been administered.
  8. Flush tube, and restart feeds.

Download PDF: Medication Administration Through Feeding Tubes


References:

1. National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, DailyMed Database.
2. White R, Bradnam V. Handbook of drug administration via enteral feeding tubes [Internet]. Grayslake (IL): Pharmaceutical Press; 2007. 590 p. Available from: http://www.rlandrews.org/pdf_files/handbk_of_enteralfeeding.pdf
3. Wensel TM. Administration of proton pump inhibitors in patients requiring enteral nutrition [Internet]. P T. 2009 Mar; 34(3):143-60. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697083/pdf/ptj34_3p143.pdf
4. Oral dosage forms that should not be crushed [Internet]. Horshan (PA): Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2020. Available from: https://www.ismp.org/recommendations/do-not-crush
5. McIntire CM, Monk HM. (2014) Medication absorption considerations in patients with postpyloric enteral feeding tubes [Internet]. Am J Heath Syst Pharm 71(7):549-56.
6. Bridges M, Parrish CR. (2019) Part III jejunal enteral feeding: the tail is wagging the dog(ma) – dispelling myths with physiology, evidence, and clinical experience. Pract Gastroenterol. Available from: https://med.virginia.edu/ginutrition/wp-content/uploads/sites/199/2019/04/Jejunal-Feeding-Bridges-Parrish-April-2019.pdf
7. Appendix 10: administering drugs via feeding tubes [Internet]. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain; 2002 Apr. Available from: https://www.palliativedrugs.com/download/appendix10.pdf
8. Kolb SJ, Litt B. Antiepileptic drug preparations delivered via enteric tubes [Internet]. Bowie (MD): Epilepsy Foundation; 2004 Apr. Available from: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/professionals/resource-library/tables/antiepileptic-drug-preparations-delivered-enteric-tubes

Every individual with Dravet syndrome should have a Seizure Action Plan (SAP) that was developed with their neurologist or epileptologist.

  • During a surgery or procedure, the caregiver may not always be able to be present with the patient, necessitating clear communication with the entire health care team.
  • Several medications commonly used during procedures could increase the risk for a seizure.
  • The health care team should be made aware of individual seizure triggers.
  • Your loved one’s SAP should include special instructions specifically for health care providers that indicate appropriate seizure interventions within a medical setting.
  • If your current SAP does not include this information or if you do not have a SAP, talk with your neurologist about developing one prior to the procedure date.
  • The SAP content should include appropriate interventions to take in the event of a seizure emergency as well as medications to avoid.
  • Importantly, you should share this information with the surgical team in advance and also bring a copy with you on the day of the procedure.
  • You can find more information and resources for developing an SAP from the Seizure Action Plan Coalition’s website.

Developed for the DSF Website, Updated August 2021

The information on this webpage was developed by:

Adrian Turner, PharmD (Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas)
Marry Vuong, PharmD (Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, Florida)
Veronica Hood, PhD (Dravet Syndrome Foundation, Cherry Hill, New Jersey).

Questions can be addressed to: [email protected]