Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2009 Jul;12(3):140-53. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.56312.

Status epilepticus.

Author information

  • 1Department of General Medicine, Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.


Status epilepticus (SE) is a medical emergency associated with significant morbidity and mortality. SE is defined as a continuous seizure lasting more than 30 min, or two or more seizures without full recovery of consciousness between any of them. Based on recent understanding of the pathophysiology, it is now considered that any seizure that lasts more than 5 min probably needs to be treated as SE. GABAergic mechanisms play a crucial role in terminating seizures. When the seizure persists, GABA-mediated mechanisms become ineffective and several other putative mechanisms of seizure suppression have been recognized. Early treatment of SE with benzodiazepines, followed if necessary by fosphenytoin administration, is the most widely followed strategy. About a third of patients with SE may have persistent seizures refractory to the first-line medications. They require aggressive management with second-line medications such as barbiturates, propofol, or other agents. In developing countries where facilities for assisted ventilation are not readily available, it may be helpful to use nonsedating antiepileptic drugs (such as sodium valproate, levetiracetam, or topiramate) at this stage. It is important to recognize SE and institute treatment as early as possible in order to avoid a refractory state. It is equally important to attend to the general condition of the patient and to ensure that the patient is hemodynamically stable. This article reviews current knowledge regarding the management of convulsive SE in adults.


Anticonvulsants; barbiturates; lorazepam; midazolam; phenytoin; propofol; refractory status epilepticus; status epilepticus

Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Medknow Publications and Media Pvt Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk