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Eur J Pediatr. 1981 Oct;137(2):151-3.

Sodium valproate versus phenobarbital in the prophylactic treatment of febrile convulsions in childhood.


Phenobarbital has been shown to offer effective prophylaxis against childhood febrile convulsions. However, a high percentage of children do not tolerate phenobarbital, mainly due to behavioral changes. Valproate, due to its low toxicity, appears to be an attractive alternative to phenobarbital treatment. Ninety children admitted with their first febrile convulsion were offered prophylactic treatment with either phenobarbital 3-5 mg/kg/day or valproate 20-30 mt/kg/day. Twenty-five children whose parents refused prophylactic treatment make up an untreated control group. Serum levels of the appropriate drug were measured at each follow-up visit. The three groups appear to be comparable. Twenty-one per cent of the phenobarbital treated children required discontinuation of the drug due to side effects. All the children tolerated valproate therapy. Twelve out of 25 untreated children suffered recurrences. Eight out of 33 children treated with phenobarbital suffered recurrences. Four out of 32 children on valproate therapy had recurrences. The difference between valproate treatment and no therapy at all is highly significant (p less than 0.001). Phenobarbital did not reduce the risk of recurrence. We now recommend prophylactic treatment with valproate to children with febrile seizures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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