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Benzodiazepines were as safe as and more effective than placebo for out-of-hospital status epilepticus

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 QUESTION: In patients with out-of-hospital status epilepticus, are benzodiazepines safer and more effective than placebo when given by paramedics for terminating the condition?


Randomised {allocation concealed*}, blinded {patients, clinicians, data collectors, and outcome assessors},* placebo controlled trial with follow up to time of arrival at the emergency department.


San Francisco, California, USA.


205 patients (258 enrollments) who were ≥ 18 years of age (mean age 51 y, 63% men, 50% white) and had an out-of-hospital diagnosis of status epilepticus. Exclusion criteria included pulse < 60 beats/minute, systolic blood pressure < 100 mm Hg, and a history of long-term use of or sensitivity to benzodiazepines. Only data from the first enrollment of each patient was …

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  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.

  • Source of funding: National Institutes of Health.

  • For correspondence: Dr D H Lowenstein, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. daniel_lowenstein{at}