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Recurrent Seizures In Adults


A seizure is an episode of abnormal brain activity. A seizure can cause jerky muscle movements, loss of consciousness, or confusion. Recurrent means you have a seizure more than once. The cause of your seizures may not be known. Recurrent seizures may occur if you do not take antiseizure medicine as directed. Some common triggers are alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, fever, or a virus. High or low blood sugar levels, pregnancy, a head injury, or a stroke could also trigger a seizure.


Have someone else call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You cannot be woken after your seizure.
  • You have more than 1 seizure before you are fully awake or aware.
  • You have a seizure and are diabetic or pregnant.
  • You have a seizure in water.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a second seizure that happens within 24 hours of your first.
  • You are injured during a seizure.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You are planning to get pregnant or are currently pregnant.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need the following:

  • Antiseizure medicine may be given to control or prevent seizures. Do not stop taking this medicine unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent another seizure:

  • Learn how to manage stress. Stress may increase your risk for a seizure. Meditate, do yoga, or do things that help you relax. Exercise may also decrease your stress. Ask your healthcare provider what types of exercises are safe. Also ask your healthcare provider about therapy to help manage and cope with stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Ask your healthcare provider how much sleep you need each night. Do not drink caffeine or smoke cigarettes before bed. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Manage other medical conditions. Manage other health conditions that may increase your risk for a seizure. Keep your blood sugar levels and blood pressure under control.
  • Do not use drugs or drink alcohol. Alcohol and street drugs can trigger a seizure. Ask your healthcare provider if you need help to quit drinking or using drugs.
  • Take your medicine every day at the same time. Do not skip a dose.

Safety measures after a seizure:

  • Do not drive until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Do not operate heavy equipment or dangerous machines for at least 6 months.
  • Do not swim, scuba dive, or climb for 3 months , or as directed.
  • Tell your friends, family members, and coworkers that you have had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if you have another seizure.

How others can keep you safe during a seizure:

Give the following instructions to family, friends, and coworkers:

  • Do not panic.
  • Gently guide me to the floor or a soft surface.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • Do not hold me down or put anything in my mouth.
  • Place me on my side to help prevent me from swallowing saliva or vomit.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • Protect me from injury. Remove sharp or hard objects from the area surrounding me, or cushion my head.
  • Loosen my clothing around the head and neck.
  • Time how long my seizure lasts. Call 911 if my seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or if I have a second seizure.
  • Stay with me until my seizure ends. Let me rest until I am fully awake.
  • Perform CPR if I stop breathing or you cannot feel my pulse.
  • Do not give me anything to eat or drink until I am fully awake.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

You may need more tests to find the cause of your seizure. You may also need tests to check the level of antiseizure medicine in your blood. Your neurologist may need to change or adjust your medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.