(HealthDay News) — Among young children with febrile status epilepticus (FSE), seizures rarely stop spontaneously, and administering antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) sooner is associated with shorter seizure duration, according to a study published online February 6 in Epilepsia.

Syndi Seinfeld, DO, from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues analyzed the consequences of FSE in 199 children (1 month–6 years old) with FSE who had a febrile seizure or cluster of seizures lasting more than 30 minutes.

The researchers found that terminating FSE required at least one AED in 90% of patients and more than one AED in 70% of patients. The first AED was administered by emergency personnel a median of 30 minutes after seizure onset. Patients who received drugs before arriving in the emergency department had nonsignificantly shorter mean seizure durations (81 vs. 95 minutes). A median of 38 minutes elapsed between the first AED dose and end of seizure. Seizures lasted a median of 83 minutes in the 48% of patients receiving respiratory support compared with 58 minutes in patients not receiving respiratory support. Reducing the time from onset of seizure to initiation of AED was significantly associated with shorter seizure duration.

“FSE rarely stops spontaneously, is fairly resistant to medications, and even with treatment persists for a significant period of time,” Seinfeld and colleagues conclude. “Earlier onset of treatment results in shorter total seizure duration.”

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