Choose the right healthcare service to get the care you need and to enable the NHS to help the greatest number of people.

GREEN Self-care or ask a pharmacist for advice

Living with epilepsy

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can help stop or reduce the frequency of seizures.

  • if prescribed an AED, take it every day as advised by the doctor
  • tell the GP if the medicine is causing unpleasant side effects; do not skip doses or stop taking it without getting medical advice
  • seizures can sometimes be triggered by stress, lack of sleep and alcohol; keep a seizure diary of when and what was happening to identify triggers and avoid them
  • have regular reviews with a GP or specialist team

AMBER It is urgent, but not life threatening

People with epilepsy:

Do not always need an ambulance, or need to go to hospital, when they have a seizure.

Usually have an agreed care plan that says what to do, such as giving emergency medicine; if you know what to do and have been trained, follow their care plan.

Sometimes wear a special bracelet or carry a card to say they have epilepsy.


Call 111 or visit

Immediate first aid:

  • only move them if they are in danger
  • if they are in a wheelchair, put the brakes on and leave the seatbelt on
  • cushion their head
  • loosen any tight clothing around the neck
  • do not put anything in their mouth
  • turn them on their side when the convulsions have stopped
  • stay with them and talk calmly till they have recovered
  • do not give any food or drink till they have recovered
  • note the time the seizure starts and finishes

RED It is a life-threatening medical emergency

If someone has a seizure (or fit) and any of the following apply:

  • it’s the result of trauma, like a head injury
  • it is the first time
  • the seizure is lasting longer than normal
  • the seizure lasts more than five minutes
  • the person does not regain consciousness, or has several seizures without regaining consciousness
  • the person is seriously injured during the seizure

Call 999 immediately