Is there an ideal way to discontinue the ketogenic diet?

Lila T. Worden, Zahava Turner, Paula L. Pyzik, James E. Rubenstein, Eric H. Kossoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is unclear what the ideal weaning speed of the ketogenic diet should be and the resultant risk of seizure worsening. A retrospective chart review was performed of children who discontinued the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins Hospital from January 2000 to June 2010. Speed of discontinuation was categorized into immediate (<1 week), quick (1-6 weeks), or slow (>6 weeks) rates. One hundred and eighty-three children were identified. Children with both a longer diet duration (p=0.004) and lower seizure frequency (p<0.001) were weaned more slowly by our group. There was no significant difference in the incidence of seizures worsening between discontinuation rates. However, there was an increased risk of seizures worsening in those specifically with a 50-99% seizure reduction (30% vs. 8%, p<0.0001) and for that level of seizure improvement, in those who were receiving more anticonvulsants (1.4 vs. 0.8, p=0.01). In summary, there does not appear to be an increased risk of seizure exacerbation with rapid ketogenic diet discontinuations. Those who improved 50-99% and were receiving more anticonvulsants were at the highest risk overall. Discontinuing the ketogenic diet over weeks rather than months appears safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Diet
  • Discontinuation
  • Epilepsy
  • Ketogenic
  • Ketosis
  • Wean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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