Pharmacotherapy for Refractory and Super-Refractory Status Epilepticus in Adults.

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Pharmacotherapy for Refractory and Super-Refractory Status Epilepticus in Adults.

Drugs. 2018 Jan 24;:

Authors: Holtkamp M

Patients with prolonged seizures that do not respond to intravenous benzodiazepines and a second-line anticonvulsant suffer from refractory status epilepticus and those with seizures that do not respond to continuous intravenous anesthetic anticonvulsants suffer from super-refractory status epilepticus. Both conditions are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. A strict pharmacological treatment regimen is urgently required, but the level of evidence for the available drugs is very low. Refractory complex focal status epilepticus generally does not require anesthetics, but all intravenous non-anesthetizing anticonvulsants may be used. Most descriptive data are available for levetiracetam, phenytoin and valproate. Refractory generalized convulsive status epilepticus is a life-threatening emergency, and long-term clinical consequences are eminent. Administration of intravenous anesthetics is mandatory, and drugs acting at the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)A receptor such as midazolam, propofol and thiopental/pentobarbital are recommended without preference for one of those. One in five patients with anesthetic treatment does not respond and has super-refractory status epilepticus. With sustained seizure activity, excitatory N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are increasingly expressed post-synaptically. Ketamine is an antagonist at this receptor and may prove efficient in some patients at later stages. Neurosteroids such as allopregnanolone increase sensitivity at GABAA receptors; a Phase 1/2 trial demonstrated safety and tolerability, but randomized controlled data failed to demonstrate efficacy. Adjunct ketogenic diet may contribute to termination of difficult-to-treat status epilepticus. Randomized controlled trials are needed to increase evidence for treatment of refractory and super-refractory status epilepticus, but there are multiple obstacles for realization. Hitherto, prospective multicenter registries for pharmacological treatment may help to improve our knowledge.

PMID: 29368126 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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