Sedative Drug Withdrawal Seizures: Cellular Eleptrophysiological Mechanisms

  • P. L. Carlen
  • M. F. Davies
  • I. Rougier-Naquet
  • J. N. Reynolds
  • I. Spigelman


Sedatives of the central nervous system (CNS) are the most commonly used, abused, and prescribed drugs. It is now apparent that withdrawal of these drugs, particularly if done in a precipitous fashion, can lead to seizures that are usually generalized. Victor and Brausch (1967) demonstrated, in a large series of alcoholics presenting to a hospital, that alcohol withdrawal was frequently associated with seizures. A more recent study by Hillbom (1980) in Finland showed that 49% of 560 consecutive seizure patients brought to a hospital emergency room had a very recent history of alcohol intoxication. Benzodiazepine withdrawal (Fialip et al., 1987) and barbiturate withdrawal (Fraser et al., 1958) are also sometimes associated with seizures. There is a paucity of data concerning the cellular electrophysiological mechanisms associated with sedative drug withdrawal seizures. Investigations by this laboratory over the past few years are summarized and discussed in this chapter. These studies were performed in neurons of adult rat or guinea pig hippocampal brain slices, which were recorded intracellularly using standard voltage recording techniques (Blaxter et al., 1986) or single electrode voltage-clamp techniques for recording Ca2+ currents (Blaxter et al., 1989).


Epileptiform Activity Population Spike Ethanol Withdrawal Schaffer Collateral Withdrawal Seizure 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. L. Carlen
  • M. F. Davies
  • I. Rougier-Naquet
  • J. N. Reynolds
  • I. Spigelman

There are no affiliations available

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