Epilepsy: Partial and Absence Seizures
Partialonset seizures start in localized brain regions and may affect nearly any brain function, from motor or sensory involvement to complex repetitive, purposeless, undirected, and inappropriate motor activities. Patients can be unaware of these automatisms. Symptoms often represent the function of the underlying affected brain region. Postictal confusion and disorientation often occur. Drugs for these seizures include carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproic acid, and primidone. Absence (petite mal) seizures, characterized by periods of vacant staring or inattention (absence), occur without warning and last approximately 20 seconds. Hundreds may occur daily. Patients often have no memory of the events. These seizures usually occur in children, are often outgrown in adolescence, can disrupt academic performance, and are treated with ethosuximide and valproic acid and with clonazepam. Side effects of these drugs include sedation, leukopenia, and hepatic failure.