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Epilepsia. 1998 Aug;39(8):841-9.

Clonidine and methohexital-induced epileptic magnetoencephalographic discharges in patients with focal epilepsies.

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Department of Neurology, University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen, Germany.



During presurgical evaluation, 14 patients with medically intractable focal epilepsies underwent magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recordings for focus localization. To increase the number of epileptic discharges required for MEG analysis, we administered methohexital (MHT), a short-acting barbiturate known to provoke epileptic activity. We also investigated the spike-provoking properties of clonidine in comparison with MHT.


Patients were briefly anesthetized with intravenously administered MHT after being premedicated orally with clonidine. Numbers and locations of epileptic MEG discharges were assessed after clonidine premedication as well as during MHT anesthesia. Results were compared with baseline MEG recordings.


MHT increased the frequency of focal epileptic discharges in 8 of 13 patients ( of the 14 patients did not receive MHT after premedication with clonidine). Premedication with clonidine also increased focal epileptic discharges in 9 of 14 patients. The numbers of epileptic signals and numbers of spikes contributing to MEG source localizations were significantly increased in MEG recordings under both treatment conditions (clonidine premedication and MHT anesthesia) as compared with baseline MEG recordings.


Our results confirmed the selective proconvulsive effects of MHT on the epileptic focus, as previously suggested by EEG and electrocorticographic (ECoG) investigations. However, our present data establish for the first time that clonidine increases epileptic activity in patients with seizure disorders and indicate that clonidine is suitable as an activating agent for localization of epileptogenic foci by MEG. This effect of clonidine on specific epileptic activity also indicates that specific care must be taken when clonidine is used as an antihypertensive drug in patients with seizure disorders.

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