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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Jun;63(6):640-7. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

Anticonvulsant therapy for status epilepticus.

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Department of Neurology, Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.



To determine whether a particular anticonvulsant is more effective or safer than another or placebo in patients with status epilepticus, and to summarize the available evidence from randomized controlled trials, and to highlight areas for future research in status epilepticus.


Randomized controlled trials of participants with premonitory, early, established or refractory status epilepticus using a truly random or quasi-random allocation of treatments were included.


Eleven studies with 2017 participants met the inclusion criteria. Lorazepam was better than diazepam for reducing risk of seizure continuation [relative risk (RR) 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45, 0.90] and of requirement of a different drug or general anaesthesia (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.45, 0.88) with no statistically significant difference in the risk of adverse effects. Lorazepam was better than phenytoin for risk of seizure continuation (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.45, 0.86). Diazepam 30 mg intrarectal gel was better than 20 mg in premonitory status epilepticus for the risk of seizure continuation (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.18, 0.86).


Lorazepam is better than diazepam or phenytoin alone for cessation of seizures and carries a lower risk of continuation of status epilepticus requiring a different drug or general anaesthesia. Both lorazepam and diazepam are better than placebo for the same outcomes. In the treatment of premonitory seizures, diazepam 30 mg intrarectal gel is better than 20 mg for cessation of seizures without a statistically significant increase in adverse effects. Universally accepted definitions of premonitory, early, established and refractory status epilepticus are required.

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