The researchers say that 73 percent of patients who received midazolam through an autoinjector were seizure-free when they arrived at the emergency department, compared with 63 percent of those who received IV treatment with lorazepam.
Patients in the autoinjector/midazolam group were also less likely to require hospitalization than those in the IV/lorazepam group. Both groups had similarly low rates of recurrent seizures.
"Patients with status epilepticus can suffer severe consequences if seizures are not stopped quickly. This study establishes that rapid intramuscular injection of an anticonvulsant drug is safe and effective," Dr. Walter Koroshetz, NINDS deputy director, said in an institute news release.
Another expert agreed.
"This study represents a major step toward keeping epilepsy patients safer from the serious neurologic and medical risks of prolonged status epilepticus," said Dr. Cynthia Harden, chief of the Division of Epilepsy and Electroencephalography at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.
Could the autoinjector be safely used by non-medical personnel, such as family or friends? Harden said only more research can tell. "The device has great value in the clinical setting, when used by paramedics," she said, "and the safety of its use by non-medical persons such as family members remains to be clarified."
The study authors agreed. Currently, they said, the use of midazolam requires on-site medical supervision, and further research is needed before autoinjectors with the drug might be available for use by epilepsy patients and their family members.
All rights reserved