Status epilepticus is life threatening, as one seizure after another occurs without a period of normal functioning in between.
The proper full name is:” generalized convulsive status epilepticus”, as outlined in Ref. 5, but most physicians call it status epilepticus.
These authors define status epilepticus as a seizure that lasts 5 minutes or more or as two or more seizures between which patients do not recover.
The consensus is that lorazepam (brand name: Ativan, Nu-Loraz), given intravenously and phenytoin (brand name: Dilantin, Diphenylan, Phenytex) are the most effective medications to quickly gain control of status epilepticus.
Other preferred medications are diazepam (brand names: Valium, Zetran, Valrelease), midazolam (brand name: Versed) or propofol ( brand name: Diprivan). Once the status epilepticus has been controlled the patient should be monitored in the Intensive Care Unit with continuous EEG monitoring until stabilized. During this time an intensive work-up needs to be done in the hospital setting to find the cause for this state. If status epilepticus is not treated, many patients would die. Swift action on behalf of onlookers calling 911 for the emergency response team will save many lives.
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