The guideline covers diagnosing, treating and managing epilepsy and seizures in children, young people and adults in primary and secondary care. It offers best practice advice on managing epilepsy to improve health outcomes so that people with epilepsy can fully participate in daily life

In February 2016, we updated this guideline to link to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) toolkit to ensure female patients are better informed about the risks of taking valproate during pregnancy.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • People who work in occupational health services, social services, educational services and the voluntary sector
  • Children, young people and adults with epilepsy and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We reviewed the evidence in February 2014. We found nothing that affects the recommendations in this guideline.

Next review: 2018

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG20 (October 2004).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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