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Breakthrough study sheds new light on best medication for children with seizures
Date:6/11/2014

DETROIT A recently published clinical study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has answered an urgent question that long puzzled ER pediatricians: Is the drug lorazepam really safer and more effective than diazepam the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication as first line therapy most often used by emergency room doctors to control major epileptic seizures in children?

The answer to that question based on a double-blind, randomized clinical trial that compared outcomes in 273 seizure patients, about half of whom were given lorazepam is a clear-cut "no," said Prashant V. Mahajan, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A, one of the authors of the study.

"The results of our clinical trial were very convincing, and they showed clearly that the two medications are just about equally effective and equally safe when it comes to treating status epilepticus [major epileptic brain seizures in children]," Dr. Mahajan said. "This is an important step forward for all of us who frequently treat kids in the ER for [epilepsy-related] seizures, since it answers the question about the best medication to use in ending the convulsions and getting these patients back to normal brain functioning."

Describing the brain convulsions that were targeted by the study, its authors pointed out that status epilepticus occurs when an epilepsy-related seizure lasts more than 30 minutes. Such seizures which occur in more than 10,000 U.S. pediatric epilepsy patients every year can cause permanent brain damage or even death, if allowed to persist.

Published in JAMA, the study, "Lorazepam vs Diazepam for Pediatric Status Epilepticus: A Randomized Clinical Trial," was designed to test earlier assertions by many clinicians that lorazepam was more effective at controlling pediatric seizures. The study-authors wrote, "Potential advantages pro
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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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