Doctors have been warned that anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) do not always have to be prescribed if a child has only had one unprovoked seizure.
Dr Deborah Hirtz, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, told a briefing of medical journalists that most paediatric neurologists are aware that a first unprovoked seizure need not be treated, but added that "most other doctors don't."
Dr Hirtz added:
"You don't have to treat all seizures. You have to weigh 'the risks' that are known to accompany use of anti-epileptic drugs and the social issues that are also involved.
"Kids go to school and are stigmatised because they have to take medicine, but on the other hand, parents 'want to avoid the risk of another seizure.'"
New management guidelines, developed by the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society, will be published in the journal Neurology.