, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 100-112

Treatment Options in the Management of Status Epilepticus

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Opinion statement

Status epilepticus treatment involves the use of several pharmacologic compounds, which are conceptually divided into three successive and additional lines of action. Because of their rapid onset of action, benzodiazepines represent the first approach; these are followed by classic antiepileptic drugs that are administered intravenously. In refractory episodes, pharmacologic coma induction with an appropriate anesthetic is advocated. Apart from first-line compounds, the level of evidence for medications used in status epilepticus is extremely limited. It is important to specifically address etiology in order to maximize the impact of the antiepileptic therapy. Fine-tuning of the treatment strategy, mainly regarding the choice of whether to induce coma, should be approached by balancing the benefits of rapid control of the status epilepticus with the risks of adverse effects. Although each status epilepticus episode should be treated as rapidly as possible, it appears advisable to reserve coma induction for those forms, such as generalized convulsive status, that have been shown to present a consistent risk of neurologic sequelae.