Blood Tests: Monitoring Drug Levels

For many children, the scariest part of any doctor’s visit is getting their blood drawn. Unfortunately, the pain and discomfort associated with getting blood drawn is often a necessary part of the treatment for a child with epilepsy. Before starting a child on an antiepileptic drug many neurologists will require that a blood test be done so the results can be compared with later blood tests. How often blood tests are required is dependent on the doctor, type of medication, seizure control, signs of side effects and other factors. Most neurologists prefer that anti-epileptic drug levels be obtained before the morning dose (trough level) so ask specifically before going to the lab. Call the laboratory prior to your child’s visit and inquire whether or not they have experience with young children, and if there is a specific technician who is particularly good.