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Study finds better medication for emergency treatment of childhood seizures

21 Jul 2005

Giving the drug
midazolam via the mouth is a better emergency treatment for seizures in
children than rectal diazepam, according to a study published in The Lancet.

diazepam is the main drug used on children admitted to hospital with
continuing seizures who are unable to have other medication. Midazolam
is an alternative drug that can be given via the mouth.

The researchers, led by John McIntyre of the Derbyshire Children's Hospital,
compared the safety and effectiveness of rectal diazepam with buccal
midazolam. The study investigated 219 cases involving 177 children aged
six months and older. Midazolam treatment via the mouth was successful
in 61 of 109 (56 per cent) of cases and for rectal diazepam 30 out of
110 (27 per cent) episodes were successfully treated.

Dr McIntyre said:

our study, buccal [given by the mouth] midazolam ended seizures more
rapidly than rectal diazepam and stopped seizures within 10 minutes in
more children.

study confirms the rapid effect of buccal midazolam, but has also
identified important clinical advantages over rectal diazepam in both
speed of onset and duration of action."

A spokesman for the charity Epilepsy Action commented:

midazolam is currently not licensed for the treatment of epilepsy in
the UK although there is an increasing trend for doctors to prescribe
it as an emergency treatment for prolonged seizures."