Mother and daughter sitting on a bench

Drug-resistant Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder affecting the brain. While many patients will respond well to anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), 36% of patients in Ireland with epilepsy have inadequate control of seizures, despite using AEDs.1 This is known as drug resistant or refractory epilepsy and is defined as a failure of two or more appropriately chosen AEDs to achieve seizure freedom.1 Furthermore, there are many side effects commonly associated with AEDs including drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.2 Additionally, patients are at increased risk of injury hospital visits, development issues, depression and anxiety.3


Epilepsy affects 1 in every 115 people n Ireland over the age of 54

The power of ketogenic diet therapy (KDT)

For patients with refractory epilepsy, a ketogenic diet of high fat, low carbohydrate and adequate protein can provide a way forward. Research shows that KDT offers a 50% chance of reducing seizures, when used under medical supervision.5 KDT effectively changes the body’s metabolism, using ketones from fat as the main source of energy rather than glucose from carbohydrate. This change in metabolism is thought to be one of the key mechanisms by which KDT works to reduce seizure activity.6 Candidates for KDT include, but not limited to, Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, FIRES, infantile spasms, super-refractory status epilepticus and Angelman syndrome.7

Download our infographic to learn more about KDT

Nutricia offer a range of Foods for Medical Purposes (FSMPs) for the dietary management of drug resistant epilepsy and other conditions where KDT is indicated. These are available in the form of the KetoCal range which aims to help make KDT easier and more manageable for adults and children living on the diet. Fewer seizures make for a better quality of life and Nutricia are committed to researching new ketogenic products and services to help make an even greater difference to the people who need it.8

We work with hospitals and charities to support greater access to the benefits of KDT and in turn a better quality of life 

In addition to the KetoCal range, Nutricia support patients following KDT and their families by holding events where they can meet, share experiences and swap ideas. We understand that mealtimes are an important part of family life that can be impacted by KDT. Therefore, we aim to make mealtimes easier with face-to-face and online cookery demos from our expert KDT chef, print and digital cookery books along with an online diet management tool called My Keto Planner for dietitians to use in collaboration with their patients.

Nutricia work with Epilepsy Ireland to raise awareness of epilepsy and the treatment options that are available for patients


  1.  Kwan, P., Arzimanoglou, A. and Berg, A (2010) ‘Definition of Drug-resistant Epilepsy: Consensus Proposal by the Ad Hoc Task Force of the ILAE Commission on Therapeutic Strategies’, Epilepsia, 51(6), pp. 1069–1077
  2.  Epilepsy Foundation (2018) ‘Risks with Epilepsy’, Available at:   (Accessed: 16th October 2020)
  3.  Epilepsy Society (2018) ‘Risks with Epilepsy’, Available at: (Accessed: 16th October 2020)
  4.  Linehan, C., Kerr, M.P., Walsh, P.N. et al. (2010) “Examining the prevalence of epilepsy and delivery of epilepsy care in Ireland”, Epilepsia, 51(5), pp. 845-852.
  5.  Martin K et al. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016:CD001903.pub3 
  6.  Levy R, Cooper P. Update in Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;3:CD001903.
  7.  Kossoff, E. et al., 2018 ‘Optimal Clinical Management of Children Receiving Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy: Updated Recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group’. Epilepsia Open: 1-18
  8.  Williams E, Szwec C & Emlyn-Jones N (2018) Coping with complex epilepsy whilst striving for a quality of life for the whole family - facilitating a parent’s perspective issue 4, pp. 15-16

The Ketocal range are Foods for Special Medical Purposes for the dietary management of drug resistant epilepsy or other conditions where the ketogenic diet is indicated and must be used under medical supervision.


Visit our Resource Centre for a wide range of professional resources to support you and your patients.


Find out about Nutricia's wide range of specialised nutritional products.


Stay up to date and find out about our latest news.

Do you have a question?

Contact our team of experts for guidance on the use and composition of our product range, for support with queries regarding your Nutricia account and sampling service or to get in touch with your local Nutricia representative. We are available Monday to Friday 9am-5pm (except Bank Holidays)

careline round

You may also be interested in


Nutricia offers access to a wide range of support services and resources including:

  • • Our free Sampling Service to order product samples and have them sent to your patients' homes.
  • • A range of CPD accredited e-learning programmes.
  • • Order free paper copies of our support tools for yourself or to use with your patients.
  • • Sign up to receiving marketing communications and be the first to know about our free educational events & webinars, the latest scientific research and product updates.


Help us provide information most relevant to you

Please ensure your role and areas of interest are up to date.