Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Epilepsy Health Center

Font Size

Drug vs. Drug for Epileptic Seizures in Kids

Ativan, Valium both good options for emergency treatment, experts say


Dr. Steven Pacia, director of the Epilepsy Center and the division of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, "This confirms what a lot of physicians have known -- that the drugs are pretty similar and effective."

Pacia added that these seizures are an emergency, so when using either drug, whether in the hospital or in the field, it is essential that treatment start as soon as possible. "The importance is giving it early and quickly and enough," he said.

The report was published in the April 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Michael Duchowny, a pediatric neurologist and director of the Epilepsy Center at Miami Children's Hospital, said, "This paper is important because Valium is much more widely available, so that it is equal to Ativan is important."

Duchowny added, "These drugs are used in emergency situations, so if you can get either of them they are both effective, but you don't have to feel that Valium is less effective."

Another expert, Dr. Cynthia Harden, director of the North Shore-LIJ Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center in Great Neck, N.Y., said she doesn't think this study will change clinical practice.

Another drug, midazolam, also used to treat epileptic seizures in children, is becoming the drug of choice possibly replacing both Valium and Ativan, she said.

Midazolam has an advantage because it can be given as a liquid into the nose, making it ideal for paramedics and parents alike, Harden said.

"I think that midazolam is probably going to supersede everything, including rectal Valium," she said.

Prolonged epileptic seizure, called "status epilepticus," occurs about 10,000 times a year in children in the United States, according to study background information.

It is important to control these seizures to prevent permanent injury and life-threatening complications such as respiratory failure, the researchers pointed out.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

human head and brain waves
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Grand mal seizure
How is each one different?
marijuana plant
CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
prescription bottle
Which medication is right for you?
Seizures Driving
Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
Graces Magic Diet
Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
first aid kit
Caring Child Epilepsy
Making Home Safe
epilepsy monitoring

WebMD Special Sections