Low glycemic index treatment for seizure control in Angelman syndrome: A case series from the Center for Dietary Therapy of Epilepsy at the Massachusetts General Hospital

Published:January 18, 2017DOI:


      • LGIT can provide individuals with AS with a high level of seizure control with minimal side effects.
      • The LGIT appears less effective in preventing seizures due to illness or non-convulsive status.
      • This cohort's discontinuation rate was lower than a previous LGIT study in the general population.
      • Some individuals maintain good seizure control with higher carbohydrate intake than typical LGIT.


      The low glycemic index treatment, a dietary therapy that focuses on glycemic index and reduced carbohydrate intake, has been successful in reducing seizure frequency in the general epilepsy population. Epilepsy is a common feature of Angelman syndrome and seizures are often refractory to multiple medications, especially in those with maternal deletions. Dietary therapy has become a more frequently used option for treating epilepsy, often in combination with other antiepileptic drugs, due to its efficacy and favorable side effect profile. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of the low glycemic index treatment for seizure control in Angelman syndrome. Through a retrospective medical record review of 23 subjects who utilized the low glycemic index treatment at the Clinic and Center for Dietary Therapy of Epilepsy at the Massachusetts General Hospital, we found that the high level of seizure control and favorable side effect profile make the low glycemic index treatment a viable treatment for seizures in Angelman syndrome. The majority of subjects in our cohort experienced some level of seizure reduction after initiating the diet, 5 (22%) maintained complete seizure freedom, 10 (43%) maintained seizure freedom except in the setting of illness or non-convulsive status epilepticus, 7 (30%) had a decrease in seizure frequency, and only 1 (4%) did not have enough information to determine seizure control post-initiation. The low glycemic index treatment monotherapy was successful for some subjects in our cohort but most subjects used an antiepileptic drug concurrently. Some subjects were able to maintain the same level of seizure control on a liberalized version of the low glycemic index treatment which included a larger amount of low glycemic carbohydrates. No correlation between the level of carbohydrate restriction and level of seizure control was found. Few subjects experienced side effects and those that did found them to be mild and easily treated. The efficacy of the low glycemic index treatment and its favorable side effect profile make it an excellent alternative or supplement to antiepileptic drug therapy for the treatment of seizures in Angelman syndrome.


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