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'Autoinjector' Offers Safe, Speedy Care for Life-Threatening Seizures: Study
Date:2/15/2012

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Using an autoinjector device to deliver anti-seizure drugs into muscle is a fast, safe and effective way to treat status epilepticus, a prolonged type of seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, researchers report.

"This is a very important study for persons with epilepsy," said one outside expert, Dr. Jacqueline French, first vice president of the American Epilepsy Society. "Prolonged seizures and status epilepticus can lead to brain damage, prolonged hospitalization, and other serious harm. The earlier treatment is initiated, the greater the likelihood that the seizure activity can be aborted quickly, and harm can be avoided," she said.

French, who is also professor of neurology at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City, believes the study "will set a new standard for treatment by emergency teams, that will lead to substantial benefit for persons with epilepsy."

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), appears in the Feb. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Status epilepticus is a serious, potentially life-threatening medical emergency that causes 55,000 deaths each year in the United States. First-line treatment typically involves intravenous (IV) delivery of anti-seizure drugs. However, starting an IV in a patient having a seizure can be challenging for paramedics and takes up precious time.

This study, carried out by paramedics, examined whether using an autoinjector to deliver an anti-seizure drug directly into a patient's thigh muscle is as safe and effective as using an IV. The researchers compared how well each method stopped patients' seizures by the time the ambulance arrived at the emergency department.

Two different seizure-fighting medicines -- midazolam and lorazepam -- were used in the study. Both are benzodiazepine
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'Autoinjector' Offers Safe, Speedy Care for Life-Threatening Seizures: Study
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