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Possible other benefits for people with epilepsy in England

This information for people in England. See also Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you’re outside the UK, your local epilepsy group may be able to help.

In this section

Free prescriptions

Children at school

If you have epilepsy and take epilepsy medicines, you are entitled to free prescriptions. This is for all your prescription medicines,

not just your epilepsy medicines.

How to get free prescriptions To claim free prescriptions, ask your GP or hospital doctor for application form FP92A.

This is the application form for a medical exemption certificate. You need to fill in parts 1 and 2. Your hospital doctor,

GP or a member of staff at your GP surgery, will sign to confirm that the information you have given is correct. They will then send for an exemption certificate for you. These usually last for five years. It is your responsibility to renew it.
Reclaiming prescription costs Until you have your exemption certificate, you will have to pay for your prescriptions. You will be able to claim the money back, once you have your exemption certificate. To do this, ask the pharmacist for a receipt form FP57 when you pay for the prescription. There is information on FP57 that tells you how to claim the money back.
For more information about prescription charges contact NHS Choices Tel: 0300 330 1341 Website:

Visiting The Doctor

How does the information you give to members of your health team, especially your doctor, affect your care?
The information you provide the health care team helps:
Form the diagnosis
Make decisions about your therapy (by providing information on how you feel about certain issues such as making lifestyle changes, adverse effects of drugs, cost of drugs, etc.)...

How can I make the most of the time I have during the visit?
The following suggestions will help foster productive interaction with your doctor:
Summarize your medical history in writing.
Bring all your important medical records with you (notes from other doctors, seizure calendars, lab results).
Bring a written list of questions.
Put the most important 5 questions first.
That may be all you have time to talk about at the first visit. You can save the others for follow-up visits or ask the nurse to help.

How can I make sure I get all the information that I need?
Leave the visit with a clear understanding of the treatment plan. Make sure you go home with written instructions, particularly on how to take medications.
Know what to do if another seizure occurs or if you miss your medication.
Communicate your needs to your doctor, even those that involve sensitive issues.
If important questions come up after you leave the doctor's office, call later. The nurse may be able to help

How long does it take for seizure medicines to reach the bloodstream?
A dose of medication will reach a peak, or maximum, level in the blood 30 minutes to 4 or 6 hours after it is taken.
The peak time varies for different drugs.
The time between taking the medication and reaching the peak level depends on the specific medicine and what form it is in, for example a liquid, tablets, capsule or slow-release form.
In general, liquids are absorbed quickly. ...
Medications in slow-release forms are absorbed gradually over hours and produce the steadiest levels in the blood. These slow-release forms can be taken less often, once or twice a day.
Eating before a dose may also affect how long it takes to reach a peak level.
I have heard the term "half-life" used to talk about medications.

What does this mean?
A medicine's half-life is the time it takes for its level in the blood to be reduced by one-half.
The half-life of each seizure medicine depends on how quickly it is broken down and gotten rid of from the body.
How often a medicine should be taken depends on the drug’s half-life.

What's the difference between a medicine that has a short half-life and one with a long half-life?
If a medicine has a short half-life, the amount in your blood may quickly become too low to control your seizures. Medicines with short half-lives ideally should be taken several times a day.
Then you can take a smaller amount each time and your blood level will stay more stable.
Medicines with long half-lives have more stable levels over a number of hours. This let’s the medicine be taken less often.

When are seizure medicines most likely to work?
Seizure medicines work best when the amount in your system reaches a steady state or constant amount.
To keep this steady or constant amount, the medicine needs to be taken on a regular basis. The amount you take in needs to equal the amount your body gets rid of.
Just because a medicine has reached a steady state doesn’t mean that it will control seizures. Only by taking the medicine for a while (usually a number of months) can you tell if the drug is going to work for you.

Is it normal for blood levels of seizure medicines to fluctuate?
Yes, even when someone has been taking the same medication for a long time the amount in your body will change over the course of the day.
Missed doses can also be a reason for why medicine levels change.
Dose-related side effects are more likely to occur at times of the highest (peak) levels and a seizure is more likely to occur at times of the lowest (trough) levels

Statutory guidance

Supporting pupils with medical conditions: links to other useful resources

Updated 11 December 2015


  1. Associated resources and organisations - external

  2. Associated resources and organisations - wider government

  3. Associated resources and organisations - medical condition

 Departmental guidance and advice

Associated resources and organisations - external

  • Special educational needs and disability code of practice 0 to 25

  • The early years foundation stage - sets out specific requirements on early years settings in managing medicines for children under 5 years of age

  • Working together to safeguard children - statutory guidance on inter-agency working

  • Safeguarding children: keeping children safe in education - statutory guidance for schools and colleges

  • Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs - statutory guidance for local authorities

  • Drug advice for schools - published by DfE/Association of Chief Police Officers, this document provides advice on controlled drugs

  • Home to school transport - statutory guidance for local authorities

  • Equality Act 2010: advice for schools - to help schools understand how the Act affects them

  • School Admissions Code 2012 - statutory guidance that schools must follow when carrying out duties relating to school admissions

  • Health and safety - advice for schools covering activities that take place on or off school premises, including school trips

  • Alternative provision - statutory guidance for local authorities and head teachers and governing bodies of all educational settings providing alternative provision

  • First aid - departmental advice on first aid provision in schools

  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) - how schools can buy, install and maintain an automated external defibrillator

  • School exclusion - statutory guidance for maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units (PRUs)

  • School premises - departmental advice to help schools and local authorities understand their obligations in relation to the School Premises Regulations 2012

  • Mental health and behaviour in schools - departmental advice to help schools identify and support those pupils whose behaviour suggests they may have unmet mental health needs

  • Department for Education - contact details

2. Associated resources and organisations - wider government

  • NHS Choices - provides an A to Z of health conditions and medicines

  • Managing children with health care needs: delegation of clinical procedures, training and accountability issues - published by the Royal College of Nursing in 2008, this document highlights the clinical procedures which could be safely taught and delegated to unregistered health and non-health qualified staff

  • Getting it right for children, young people and families - provides information on the Department of Health vision for the role of the school nurse

  • The NHS Information Prescription Service - part of NHS Choices, this service provides personalised information on health conditions that parents may wish to share with schools

  • Health and Safety Executive - this website covers schools (state-funded and independent), further education establishments and higher education institutions.

  • School trips and outdoor learning activities: dealing with the health and safety myths - provides information for managers and staff in local authorities and schools

  • Standards for medicines management (2010) - produced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council this document sets standards for nurses, including over delegation of the administration of medicinal products

  • Healthy child programme 5 to 19 - this good practice guidance sets out the recommended framework of universal and progressive services for children and young people to promote health and wellbeing

  • Directors of children’s services: roles and responsibilities - statutory guidance for local authorities with responsibility for education and children’s social services functions

  • Department of Health - contact details

Associated resources and organisations - medical condition

  • Updated  April 2024

All links have been tested but over time they can become broken , please lets us know if any are not working at

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