A rectal suppository containing the drug Valium in a gel can dramatically reduce the risk of repetitive seizures in people with epilepsy, according to a study in today's New England Journal of Medicine. In a double-blind study of 125 people who had just suffered a seizure, the Valium gel cut the likelihood of subsequent seizures by more than half, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found.
The gel could also help epileptics suffering seizures lasting 30 minutes or longer, they said. As many as 150,000 Americans suffer from recurrent seizures annually and an equal number have prolonged seizures. Valium and similar drugs have been used for years to treat epilepsy, but because they need to be swallowed or placed under the tongue, they are difficult to administer to someone in mid-seizure.
Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II