Department of Public Health Sciences

Treatment of status epilepticus: a prospective comparison of diazepam and phenytoin versus phenobarbital and optional phenytoin

Shaner, D. M., S. A. McCurdy, M. O. Herring and A. J. Gabor

Neurology. 1988. 38(2):202-207.

In a randomized, nonblinded clinical trial, 36 consecutive patients with generalized convulsive status epilepticus were treated with either combination diazepam and phenytoin (DZ/DPH) or phenobarbital (PB). Phenytoin was added to the PB regimen if seizures persisted for 10 minutes after beginning therapy. The cumulative convulsion time (total time spent in active convulsive movements) was shorter for the PB group than for the DZ/DPH group (median, 5 versus 9 minutes, p less than 0.06); the response latency (elapsed time from initiation of therapy to the end of the last convulsion) was also shorter for the PB group (median, 5.5 versus 15 minutes, p less than 0.10). The median cumulative convulsion time is between 0 and 14 minutes shorter for the PB regimen than for the DZ/DPH regimen (95% confidence interval). Similarly, the median response latency for the PB regimen is between 1 minute longer and 20 minutes shorter than that for the DZ/DPH regimen (95% confidence interval). The frequencies of intubation, hypotension, and arrhythmias were similar in the two groups. Eleven of 18 patients in the PB group responded to phenobarbital monotherapy. We conclude that the PB regimen is rapidly effective, comparable in safety, and enjoys certain practical advantages in comparison with the DZ/DPH regimen.

Keywords: Adult, Aged, Clinical Trials, Comparative Study, Diazepam/*administration & dosage/therapeutic use, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Human, Male, Middle Age, Phenobarbital/*administration & dosage/therapeutic use, Phenytoin/*administration & dosage/therapeutic use, Prospective Studies, Random Allocation, Status Epilepticus/*drug therapy

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