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

or use in adults and children.

Lorazepam, marketed under the trade name Ativan, has been approved by the FDA only for use in adults. Once the FDA has approved a drug for use in adults, physicians may then prescribe it for other uses and in pediatric patients if, in their best judgment, they believe their patients will benefit.

"Sometimes physicians are forced to rely on their best judgment alone," said George Giacoia, MD, of the NICHD's Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics Branch. "However, it's always better to make treatment decisions on the evidence that comes only from conducting large comparison studies. We now know that lorezapam offers no advantage over diazepam in treating pediatric seizure disorder, and that diazepam is more suited to use by emergency teams."

In 2007, the National Institutes of Health's Pediatric Seizure study sought to determine which of two drugsdiazepam or lorazepamwas more effective in treating the life-threatening condition, status epilepticus. This condition can occur without warning. For reasons not fully understood, a child may be gripped by continuous seizures, which, if not stopped within minutes, may lead to brain damage or even death.

Because of the random nature of seizures and their significantly life altering affects, lorezapam is commonly prescribed to treat status epilepticus in children, even though it hasn't been specifically approved for that use. The results of the Pediatric Seizure study do not support the use of lorezapam instead of diazepam for treating status epilepticus, Dr. Chamberlain said. Also, because lorezapam needs to be refrigerated and diazepam does not, diazepam is more suited for use by ambulance crews.

A few previous studies indicated that lorazepam might be more effective at ending a seizure and might be less likely than diaz
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Contact: Joe Cantlupe
jcantlupe@childrensnational.org
202-476-4500
Children's National Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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