Neurology

UNM Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
A cooperative program of the UNM Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Neuroscience

Bruce Fisch, MD
Medical Director

Academic Office
Department of Neurology
MSC10 5620
Health Sciences Center
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Administrative Office
Phone: (505) 272-3342
Fax: (505) 272-6692
Neurology@salud.unm.edu

Information for Patients

Epilepsy precautions

If you suffer from seizures in which you either have involuntary movements, cannot respond physically for even a few seconds, or experience any lapse in memory or awareness during the attack, then you should avoid operating heavy machinery, including driving, and should also avoid open heat sources (stovetops, boiling or extremely hot items), taking baths (always take showers to avoid possible drowning), or placing yourself in other situations that could lead to injury during attacks. Never suddenly stop medication because that can lead to uncontrolled seizures. There is also a risk of sudden death from seizures that is reduced by both optimal seizure control and consistent medication use. Women of childbearing age should always take additional folic acid (4 mg per day) as a vitamin supplement (to protect the baby if they should become pregnant) and all individuals taking antiepileptic medications should take a daily Vitamin D (2000 units) and calcium supplement (800 mg) to prevent bone loss unless instructed otherwise by their physician.

Initial Clinic Visit to the Epilepsy Center

Comprehensive seizure disorder examination: The initial comprehensive clinic visit includes a thorough review of the patient’s history, previous testing and treatment, and a neurological physical examination. The visit often lasts several hours. The purpose of the visit is to clarify the patient’s seizure diagnosis, including whether or not they have a particular epilepsy syndrome, and to determine what optimal therapies should be undertaken. Examinations are performed by Center physicians who are all fellowship trained subspecialists in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology and are board certified in Neurology.

Patients are strongly advised to bring someone to the clinic visit who has witnessed their seizure or to have someone available by telephone at the time of the visit who has seen their seizure who will be available to talk to the examining physician. Patients are also strongly advised to bring all their medications, and if they have had an EEG or MRI performed at another institution, to bring a copy of the actual study on a CD or DVD (these are easily obtained from the referring physician or hospital where the studies were performed).