Epilepsy: Partial and Absence Seizures
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.