A BETTER WAY TO TREAT DANGEROUS SEIZURES Patients suffering from a dangerous and prolonged form of seizure called status epilepticus can be difficult to treat. While the condition is rare, these patients are often brought to the Emergency Department for rapid care. Status epilepticus is a seizure lasting five minutes or longer, or multiple seizures that occur one after the other, with no recovery in between. Most seizures last 2 minutes or less. The longer a seizure lasts, the less likely it will stop without treatment. In some cases, it can lead to brain damage or death. An estimated 120,000 to 180,000 children and adults each year go into status epilepticus. The standard of care for these patients is to administer a class of medicines known as benzodiazepines such as Valium. In about a third of patients, these drugs aren't enough to interrupt the seizure activity. If that happens, different drugs are added. The Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial, or ESETT, is testing three existing medications for those patients whose seizures persist despite initial treatment. ESETT is a five-year, multi-center trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers at University Health System and The University of Texas Health Science Center are taking part 22 in the study and will begin enrolling patients in early 2017. The goal is to enroll 795 patients nationwide. Patients who arrive at University Hospital with prolonged seizure activity will first be given a dose of benzodiazepines. If that fails to stop the seizures, they will be enrolled in the trial and randomly assigned to receive either fosphenytoin (sold as Cerebyx. levetiracetam (Keppra) orvalproic acid (Depakotel. All belong to a class of drugs called anti-convulsants, but each works in different ways. All are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Status epilepticus can result from poorly controlled epilepsy, but other factors can include low blood sugar, a stroke, kidney or liver failure, alcohol or drug abuse, head injuries and other conditions. In children, status epilepticus can be brought on by an infection with fever. While some patients have convulsions -uncontrolled jerking, rapid eye movements, grunting and drooling - others may not involve convulsions, instead exhibiting confusion, an inability to speak or irrational behavior. They may look as though they're daydreaming. The study hopes to determine the best treatment for stopping seizures quickly within three age groups - children 2 to 18, adults 19 to 65, and adults 66 and older.
2016 See How We See Annual Report
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