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Status Epilepticus


Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure that lasts longer than normal. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency. It can cause permanent brain damage or death.


Have someone else call 911 if:

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

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 more frequent seizures.
  • You feel extremely sad, anxious, or are unable to cope with your condition.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may be given the following:

  • Antiseizure medicine may control or prevent another seizure. Do not stop taking this medicine. Another person may need to give you rescue medicine to stop a seizure at home. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about rescue medicine.
  • 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.

Help prevent status epilepticus:

  • Take your medicine every day at the same time to prevent seizures. Do not skip a dose. Use an alarm to help you remember to take your medicine.
  • Identify and avoid your triggers , such as alcohol, drugs, flashing lights, or moving patterns. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help to quit using drugs or drinking alcohol.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and eat a variety of healthy foods. Dehydration and poor nutrition can trigger a seizure. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. Also ask how much liquid you need each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Manage your stress. A large amount of stress can increase your risk for a seizure. Do activities that help relax you such as yoga, reading, or meditation. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you need therapy or other ways to manage your stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep is a powerful trigger of seizures in some people. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.

How others can keep you safe if you have another seizure:

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

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not hold me down or put anything in my mouth.
  • Gently guide me to the floor or a soft surface.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • 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.

Wear medical alert jewelry:

Wear a medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have seizures. Ask your neurologist where to get these items.

Follow up with your neurologist as directed:

You will need blood 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.