Epilepsy

Catherine is a 26 year old girl who is so excited because she is going on her first holiday abroad without her parents. She is going for 10 days to Ibiza. She has been living with epilepsy since being involved in a road traffic accident 8 years ago. She has infrequent fits (one or two a year). Her epilepsy is well controlled on Clonazepam and occasional Diazepam .

There is specific advice for patients like Catherine who live with epilepsy. The link to the website is in materials.

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/daily-life/travelling-abroad

  • The advice to Catherine regarding taking her medication

Advise her to make sure she has enough medicine to last the length of the trip.

Check what paperwork she needs for medication.

  • Where Catherine should carry her medication

Carry medicine in her hand luggage with a copy of her prescription (and a letter from the doctor if she has one). She should keep the medicine in its original packaging. It’s also a good idea to pack a spare supply in the hold luggage.

  • Advice for Catherine to store her medicine when she is there

Clonazepam (Klonopin) should be stored at room temperature. Do not store in the refrigerator. You should also do the following; keep it in its original container or the bottle given to you by the pharmacy.

  • Considerations when giving Catherine vaccines

Some anti-malaria medicines should be avoided. Public Health England has published advice on anti-malaria medicine for people with epilepsy;

Chloroquine: unsuitable for people with epilepsy

Mefloquine: unsuitable for people with epilepsy

Atovaquone/proguanil: can be used by people with epilepsy

Doxycycline: can be used but the way this medicine works may be affected by phenytoin, carbamazepine and barbiturates

  • Medical clearance

The IATA guidelines say that if she has had a tonic-clonic seizure less than 24 hours before her flight, she would need medical clearance to be allowed to fly. As Catherine’s seizures are generally well controlled, she should not usually need medical clearance.