Most medication trials have studied patients with GCSE. The same medications may treat other forms of SE. Intravenous benzodiazepines usually interrupt absence SE, and subsequent treatment may be unnecessary. For patients with continuous generalized discharges and coma, however, intravenous benzodiazepines are often insufficient.
For partial or nonconvulsive SE, enteral valproate and carbamazepine are more valuable, although the response may take days; rarely will pentobarbital or anesthetics be necessary. In children, phenobarbital is often preferred to phenytoin because of better absorption, greater efficacy, and possibly fewer long-term side effects.
Reviewed and revised February 2004 by Thaddeus Walczak, MD, MINCEP® Epilepsy Care, Minneapolis, MN
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