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Complications of treatment of epilepsy by a ketogenic diet
INTRODUCTION. It was originally claimed that the ketogenic diet (KC) caused no major adverse effects. Few studies have been done to analyze the side-effects and complications of the KC. OBJECTIVES. To analyze the side-effects and complications seen in a group of patients on KC compared with those described in the international literature.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. We made a prospective evaluation of 22 patients aged between one and nineteen years, over an average period of 25 months. All had some type of refractory epilepsy and had been included in a group treated following classical KC guidelines.
RESULTS. The side-effects and complications during admission were delay in onset of the ketotic state (10.5%), intolerance of the rapid onset of ketosis (21%), hypoglycaemia (47.37%), refusal to drink fluids (15.79%), lack of appetite (15.79%), and nausea and vomiting (26.31%). During treatment the serum cholesterol rose in 64.7% of the children, 40.91% were constipated, 31.82% had periods of anorexia, symptomatic metabolic acidosis occurred during intercurrent infections in 9.09%, renal calculi in 9.09%, carnitine insufficiency in 9.09% and severe complications which led to hospital admission in 21.05%.