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.
- ketogenic diet
- modified atkins diet
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health