Recent advances in epilepsy management

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Purpose of review

Recent advances in our understanding of seizure generation have resulted in modified recommendations for when seizure treatment should be initiated, revisions to our definition of status epilepticus, and new pharmacological and neuromodulatory therapies. The goal of this review is to provide the anesthesiologist with an overview of the advancements they are most likely to encounter while providing clinical care.

Recent findings

There have been recent modifications to seizure definitions and treatment recommendations. These include the idea that treatment with antiepileptic therapy should be initiated after the first unprovoked seizure in individuals who are at high risk for another seizure, and that the idea that status epilepticus should be thought of as a two-phase process, related to an initial phase after which intervention should be started, and a second phase after which time risk of long-term sequelae is increased. Additionally, several new therapies have become available that have novel mechanisms of action, which are more efficacious and have fewer side-effects.


As knowledge about mechanisms of seizure generation has improved, there has been a concurrent evolution in our thinking about seizure-related definitions, and indications for initiation of treatment. Several next generation drug therapies with more specific targets have also become available. Taken together, there have been significant improvements in care options.

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