Prolonged epileptic seizures are the most common neurological emergency in children seen by hospitals. The seizures are potentially fatal: up to five percent of affected children die, and a third suffer long-term complications from brain damage. Crucially, the longer the seizure, the greater the chance of long-term complications.
The study -- which will change management of this condition internationally -- was published in the medical journal The Lancet this week (Thursday 18 April). It was led by Professor Stuart Dalziel from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland and Starship Children's Hospital, and the senior author was Professor Franz Babl at Melbourne's Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
Seizures - Line - Treatment - Benzodiazepines - Seizures
In severe seizures, the first line of treatment (benzodiazepines) only stops the seizures in 40 to 60 percent of patients. Before this study, the second line treatment was the anti-convulsant drug phenytoin, but until now this practice had never been scrutinised in a robust major randomised controlled trial. Also, phenytoin was known to have a number of serious complications.
In this world-leading study, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, researchers compared phenytoin with newer anti-convulsant levetiracetam for the second line treatment of seizures. Levetiracetam is used routinely as a daily medication to prevent seizures, but has not been properly tested against phenytoin for treatment of severe prolonged seizures.
Research - PREDICT - Research - Network - Emergency
The research, conducted by the PREDICT research network in 13 emergency departments at hospitals in...
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