A Review of the Multi-Systemic Complications of a Ketogenic Diet in Children and Infants with Epilepsy

Kyra Newmaster, Zahra Zhu, Elizabeth Bolt, Ryan J. Chang, Christopher Day, Asmaa Mhanna, Sita Paudel, Osman Farooq, Arun Swaminathan, Prakrati Acharya, Wisit Cheungpasitporn, Siddharth Gupta, Debopam Samanta, Naeem Mahfooz, Gayatra Mainali, Paul R. Carney, Sunil Naik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ketogenic diets (KDs) are highly effective in the treatment of epilepsy. However, numerous complications have been reported. During the initiation phase of the diet, common side effects include vomiting, hypoglycemia, metabolic acidosis and refusal of the diet. While on the diet, the side effects involve the following systems: gastrointestinal, hepatic, cardiovascular, renal, dermatological, hematologic and bone. Many of the common side effects can be tackled easily with careful monitoring including blood counts, liver enzymes, renal function tests, urinalysis, vitamin levels, mineral levels, lipid profiles, and serum carnitine levels. Some rare and serious side effects reported in the literature include pancreatitis, protein-losing enteropathy, prolonged QT interval, cardiomyopathy and changes in the basal ganglia. These serious complications may need more advanced work-up and immediate cessation of the diet. With appropriate monitoring and close follow-up to minimize adverse effects, KDs can be effective for patients with intractable epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1372
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • children
  • epilepsy
  • ketogenic diet
  • modified atkins diet
  • nutrition
  • pediatrics
  • seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'A Review of the Multi-Systemic Complications of a Ketogenic Diet in Children and Infants with Epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this