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Widely used drug no more effective than FDA approved medication in treating epileptic seizures
Date:5/14/2014

A National Institutes of Health-sponsored study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that lorazepam - a widely used but not yet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug for children - is no more effective than an approved benzodiazepine, diazepam, for treating pediatric status epilepticus.

Status epilepticus is a state in which the brain is in a persistent state of seizure. By the age of 15, 4 to 8 percent of children experience a seizure episode, which can be life threatening if they aren't stopped immediately. Status epilepticus is a continuous, unremitting seizure lasting longer than five minutes or recurrent seizures without regaining consciousness between seizures for more than five minutes.

Before this current study, published April 23, there was no evidence indicating which of the two treatments might prove more effective. Although it is not yet approved by the FDA, James M. Chamberlain, MD, Division Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children's National Health System, the study's principal investigator, estimates that lorazepam is used as first-line therapy in most emergency departments.

"The study results provide reassurance to emergency medicine personnel who must act within minutes," said Chamberlain. The study was conducted at 11 hospitals in the United States using the infrastructure of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), under a contract from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Both lorazepam and diazepam are used to treat status epilepticus. Diazepam, also known as Valium, is the only one of the two drugs to have been approved by the FDA f
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Contact: Joe Cantlupe
jcantlupe@childrensnational.org
202-476-4500
Children's National Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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