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.

Adapted from: Drislane FW. Status epilepticus. In: Schachter SC, Schomer DL, eds. The comprehensive evaluation and treatment of epilepsy. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 1997. p. 149-172.
With permission from Elsevier (
Authored By: 
Frank W. Drislane MD
Reviewed By: 
Thaddeus Walczak
Thursday, January 1, 2004