Status epilepticus is a condition which is life threatening – a person’s brain is in a persistent state of seizure. Status epilepticus is an unremitting seizure that lasts for more than a 30 minute period, or it is a series of recurrent seizures in which an individual does not regain consciousness between seizures, also for more than a 30 minute period. Convulsive status epilepticus can involve hour, day, and even week-long seizures that are due to tumors, encephalitis, or vascular disease. There is a high mortality rate of convulsive status epilepticus if not treated immediately. If treatment is initiated, there is a high chance that there will be little brain damage and ability to avoid future seizures. Causes of convulsive status epilepticus include stroke, intoxicants, metabolic disturbances, resistance to anticonvulsant, dieting while on an anticonvulsant, or alcoholic beverage consumption while on an anticonvulsant.
The use of medications from the Benzodiazepine family has been one of the top rated ways to fight convulsive status epilepticus. There are two main medications on the market for this condition – Diazepam (Generic Valium) and Lorazepam (Generic Ativan). Both medications are used for the treatment of individuals with anxiety disorders, help with individuals suffering from insomnia, and individuals who suffer from seizures.
When it was introduced in the 1960s, Diazepam (Valium) was the exclusive drug used for the treatment of convulsive status epilepticus. However, in the mid-1970s, doctors did some studies and concluded that the pharmacological effects of Lorazepam lasted longer in a person’s system before metabolized, than an equivalent dosage of Diazepam (Valium). With Lorazepam, individuals did not have to have repeated injections of Diazepam and Lorazepam had a longer half-life in the body. Most medical professionals today would recommend Lorazepam as the main drug of choice when looking to treat Convulsive status epilepticus. It can last between two to eight hours of action and acts rapidly once entered into the system because of its high attraction for GABA receptors and its minimal lipid solubility, which allows Lorazepam to stay in a person’s vascular compartment. However, if Lorazepam is not obtainable, then Diazepam is the next Benzodiazepine of choice.