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Pediatric Seizure Study Underway in US to Decide Between Diazepam and Lorazepam

A nationwide study has been launched in US to determine which of the two current medications for pediatric seizures, diazepam and lorazepam, is more effective.

Childhood seizures pose a serious problem for doctors. Epilepticus or continuous unrelenting seizures can lead to brain damage or even death if not treated.

Now there are two drugs currently prescribed to tackle emergency situations - diazepam and lorazepam. But there is no concrete data to show which of the two is more effective.

The National Institutes of Health in the US is launching a large-scale national study to determine which of the two medications is safer and offers more effective treatment.

The study is the most comprehensive of its kind and 11 hospitals around the country will participate.

Currently, the choice of treatment for status epilepticus depends upon the best judgment of the treating physician, said Duane Alexander, Director of the NIHs National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is sponsoring the study. The Pediatric Seizure Study seeks to provide the most definitive information possible on which medication offers the greater chance for successful treatment.

Status epilepticus affects between 50,000 to 60,000 children and adults in the United States each year, explained the studys principal investigator, James Chamberlain, Division Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington.

He added that four to eight children per every 1,000 will experience status epilepticus before age 15. Status epilepticus may occur in patients with epilepsy or in patients without epilepsy who experience a seizure due to a high fever, low blood sugar, an infection of the central nervous system, or a head injury. Children who have no apparent risk factors may also develop status epilepticus.

Diazepam, more commonly known as Valium, has been approved by the U
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