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Epilepsia. 1983;24 Suppl 1:S45-54.

Treatment of the nonconvulsive epilepsies.


Eliminating seizures should be the first goal of therapy for nonconvulsive epilepsies, but preventing seizures, i.e., guarding against head injuries and immunizing against agents that attack the nervous system, is the second goal. An accurate diagnosis of seizure type helps ensure that the appropriate medication for that particular form of epilepsy will be prescribed. Drug decisions should also be based on the risk: benefit ratio to the individual patient, and drug interactions should be considered when more than one drug is required. Frequent monitoring of drug serum levels is necessary in the case of multiple drug therapy or until seizures are controlled. Ethosuximide is considered the drug of choice in absence seizures, but valproic acid is equally effective. Although effective in controlling absence seizures, clonazepam is not favored in this indication because of a high incidence of side effects and the development of tolerance. Atonic seizures are generally refractory to treatment, but valproate, clonazepam, and occasionally carbamazepine represent the drugs of choice in management. Phenytoin continues to be a very popular drug for most types of seizures, but carbamazepine, used adjunctively until recently, is effective as monotherapy for the control of partial seizures, particularly those of the complex partial variety.

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