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Epilepsy Health Center

Guidance Change for First Seizure in Kids

New Guidelines Call For "Wait-And-See" Approach Regarding Drugs
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In addressing the risk of a second seizure and the potential risks associated with it, the report says even prolonged seizures rarely cause significant brain damage unless there is an associated condition like a brain bleed.

As far as the risks of a second seizure, the report says studies have shown the majority of recurrences happened within the first one to two years. A year after a first seizure, the risk can range from 14%-65%.

The factors that increase the risk for seizures include whether an EEG, a reading of the electrical activity in the brain, is normal, as well as the underlying cause of the seizure.

Of course, seizures are also a source of social embarrassment and anxiety for a child. The guidelines are really meant to insure that each child and family is considered individually, according to Hirtz. Some children or parents may be sufficiently unnerved by the experience of a seizure that they prefer to go on medication, despite potential side effects. And that's fine, Hirtz says, because the side effects are manageable.

"It needs to be worked out with a decision in tandem with the family and the child. I would say if the child and family are comfortable waiting taking the precautions I've outlined, there's a good chance that they may never have another seizure, or that it may be years away. There's time to take a wait-and-see approach," Hirtz says.

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