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Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are full epileptic seizures, which start with an outcry.

Next there is a loss of consciousness and falling down to the ground. The muscles of the extremities, the trunk and the head are then first getting into tonic (rigid spasm) contractions.

This is followed by clonic (shaky) contractions. During this seizure, which lasts about 1 to 2 minutes, urinary and fecal incontinence may happen. This type of seizure may follow an initial simple partial seizure or a complex partial seizure. In this case this would be termed a secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizure.


The drugs of choice for these seizures are phenytoin (brand name: Dilantin, Phenytex, Diphenylan), carbamazepine (brand name: Tegretol, Novo-Carbamaz) and valproic acid (brand names: Depakene, Deproic). If this does not control the seizures adequately, the neurologist may add some other anti-seizure drug or switch to another drug altogether. Such other drugs would be, for instance, phenobarbital, primidone (brandnames: Mysoline, Myidone) or lamotrigine (brand name: Lamictal). Here is a site that lists the stabilizing effects of some of the anticonvulsive medications mentioned (thanks to for this link).


 Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures


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Last modified: November 10, 2014