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Wayne State research reveals improved method for paramedics to stop prolonged seizures
Date:2/16/2012

DETROIT Drug delivery directly into muscle using an autoinjector is faster and may be more effective in stopping prolonged seizures, according to a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher.

The trial compared the effectiveness of two Federal Drug Administration-approved anti-seizure medications and how they are administered to patients suffering prolonged seizures before they arrive at hospitals.

The Rapid Anticonvulsant Medication Prior to Arrival Trial, or RAMPART, was designed to determine whether midazolam or lorazepam are safer and more effective when paramedics are called to treat patients whose seizures aren't stopping. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH.

The prolonged seizures, called status epilepticus, create an emergency situation, said Robert Welch, M.D., professor in WSU's Department of Emergency Medicine, who oversaw the Detroit portion of the study. Estimates indicate that between 120,000 and 200,000 such cases take place each year in the United States. As many as 55,000 people die from the seizures.

Complications of prolonged seizures, Welch explained, include impaired ventilation and aspiration into the lungs, which can result in pneumonia. Other issues include heart rhythm problems and direct injury to the nervous system. "Optimal outcomes in patients therefore depend on treatments that lead to rapid cessation of seizure," Welch said. "In the pre-hospital setting, it can be difficult to treat this group of patients, particularly since starting an IV to administer medications can be very difficult."

Emergency medical services crews generally administer anticonvulsant drugs at the scene intravenously as a first-line treatment for seizures. However, starting an IV in a patient experiencing seizures can pose a challenge for paramedics and waste precious t
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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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