Using an autoinjector device to deliver anti-seizure drugs into muscle is a fast, safe and effective way to treat status epilepticus, a prolonged type of seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, researchers report.
Status epilepticus is a serious, potentially life-threatening medical emergency that causes 55,000 deaths each year in the United States. First-line treatment typically involves intravenous (IV) delivery of anti-seizure drugs. However, starting an IV in a patient having a seizure can be challenging for paramedics and takes up precious time.
Two different seizure-fighting medicines — midazolam and lorazepam — were used in the study. Both are benzodiazepines and are known to be effective in controlling seizures. Midazolam was used in the autoinjectors because it is rapidly absorbed from muscle.
The researchers say that 73 percent of patients who received midazolam through an autoinjector were seizure-free when they arrived at the emergency department, compared with 63 percent of those who received IV treatment with lorazepam.
Patients in the autoinjector/midazolam group were also less likely to require hospitalization than those in the IV/lorazepam group. Both groups had similarly low rates of recurrent seizures.