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Status Epilepticus


Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure that lasts longer than normal. A seizure usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency that can cause permanent brain damage or death.



  • Medicines will help control your seizures. You may need medicine daily to help prevent seizures or during a seizure to stop it. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your neurologist.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your neurologist 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.

Follow up with your neurologist as directed:

You may 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.

Help prevent status epilepticus:

  • Take your medicine every day at the same time to prevent seizures and side effects.
  • Avoid triggers , such as lack of sleep, alcohol, fatigue, and stress.

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

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

  • Do not hold me down or put anything in my mouth.
  • Protect me from injury. Remove sharp or hard objects from the area surrounding me and cushion my head.
  • 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.
  • Do not give me anything to eat or drink until I am fully awake.

Wear medical alert jewelry:

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

Contact your neurologist if:

  • You have another seizure.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have a second seizure that happens within 24 hours of your first.
  • You are injured during a seizure.

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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.