, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 247-259

Treatment of convulsive and nonconvulsive status epilepticus

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Opinion statement

Status epilepticus (SE) should be treated as quickly as possible with full doses of medications as detailed in a written hospital protocol. Lorazepam is the drug of choice for initial treatment. If intravenous access is not immediately available, then rectal diazepam or nasal or buccal midazolam should be given. Prehospital treatment of seizures by emergency personnel is effective and safe, and may prevent cases of refractory SE. Home treat-ment of prolonged seizures or clusters with buccal, nasal, or rectal benzodiazepines should be considered for all at-risk patients. Nonconvulsive SE is underdiagnosed. An electroencephalogram should be obtained immediately in anyone with unexplained alter-ation of behavior or mental status and after convulsive SE if the patient does not rapidly awaken. Delay in diagnosis of SE is associated with a worse outcome and a higher likeli-hood of poor response to treatment. For refractory SE, continuous intravenous midazolam and propofol (alone or in combination) are rapidly effective. Randomized trials are needed to determine the best treatment for SE after lorazepam.