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National Pediatric Seizure Study

Children’s Medical Center Dallas, along with its research partner, UT Southwestern Medical Center, have completed a five-year pediatric seizure study comparing the effectiveness and safety of two commonly used drugs for treating status epilepticus, an ongoing seizure disorder.

Researchers from the Perot Family Center for the Care of Brain and Nerve Injuries at Children’s found there was no significant difference between lorazepam and diazepam in treating pediatric seizures.

According to Pam Okada, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, emergency room physician at Children’s Health and lead investigator on the double-blind trial, physicians have used one of these two drugs to treat the condition for years. Until now, the basis for treatment rested upon personal preference of the attending physician, and many physicians believed that lorazepam was better than diazepam. Now, researchers have tested both drugs head to head, and found that both are equally effective.

By the age of 15, four to eight percent of children experience a seizure episode. Seizures can be life-threatening if not stopped immediately. They may occur in patients with a known seizure disorder, such as epilepsy, or in patients without epilepsy who experience a febrile seizure, metabolic imbalance, acute infection of the central nervous system or a traumatic head injury.

Children’s took part in the Pediatric Seizure Study sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH). The study was a collaboration between 14 children’s hospitals and universities across the country. The purpose of the study was to support FDA approval of lorazepam for treating seizures in children.

This study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with support from the Emergency Medical Services for Children of the Maternal Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration under the BPCA.