Epilepsy Center Kork, Kehl, Germany
Correspondence: Thomas Bast
Epilepsy Center Kork,
77694 Kehl, Germany
The provision of rescue medication is an important component in the treatment of epilepsy. An intervention within five to ten minutes in the case of an acute prolonged seizure may preserve the patient from status epilepticus (SE). However, the risk of convulsive SE (CSE) differs markedly between patients depending on individual factors. This report summarizes the literature on risk factors for CSE in children with epilepsy and adolescents, and discusses the hypothesis that some electroclinical syndromes engender a very low risk of CSE. The most important risk factor for SE is the history of a previous event. The longer a patient lives without SE, the lower the risk will be. CSE occurs significantly less frequently in idiopathic epilepsies compared to epilepsies with symptomatic or unknown aetiology. It is very rarely observed in patients with (non-encephalopathic) idiopathic generalised epilepsies, i.e. childhood absence epilepsy or juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. However, non-compliance or inappropriate treatment may trigger CSE in these syndromes. A very low risk can be assumed for children with Rolandic epilepsy, while CSE occurs in a considerable percentage of patients with Panayiotopoulos syndrome. Although the risk of CSE in otherwise normal children with cryptogenic focal epilepsy is uncertain, it is presumably low under successful continuous medication. In conclusion, the choice for or against the prescription of rescue medication remains an individual decision. Consequently, for several electroclinical syndromes, a per se provision of rescue medication does not appear justified.