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Head-to-Head Comparison Finds Three Anti-Seizure Drugs Equally Effective for Severe Form of Epilepsy

By March 3, 2020No Comments

A medical research study to learn how to treat patients with a type of prolonged seizures in the emergency department was recently completed, and Mass General was one of the participating hospitals.

There are three treatment options commonly used by doctors in the emergency room to treat patients with refractory status epilepticus, severe seizures that continue even after benzodiazepine medications, which are effective in controlling seizures in more than two-thirds of patients.

New findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveal that the three drugs—levetiracetam, fosphenytoin, and valproate—are equally safe and effective in treating patients with this condition. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Before the study, doctors didn’t know what medicine worked best. The study showed that three medicines commonly used to treat prolonged seizures all work similarly well, stopping seizures about half the time in both children and adults. The medicines were also similar in safety. These results give doctors more flexibility and confidence when treating patients with prolonged seizures.