Choosing Wisely:

Do not prescribe long-term treatment with antiepileptic drugs after withdrawal seizures.

Rationale and Comments: Alcohol and other withdrawal seizures occur due to abrupt cessation in a person who is substance-dependent, and can usually be readily identified by the clinical scenario. Once the acute detoxification is complete, anti-epileptic drugs are not indicated. It is, however, important to identify scenarios where there is increased risk of epilepsy, such as prior epilepsy diagnosis, acute intoxication related brain injury, and seizures with history of alcohol use but without acute withdrawal.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Neurologic
  • References: • Rogawski, MA. Update on the Neurobiology of Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures. Epilepsy Curr. 2005;5(6):225–230.
    • Leach JP, Mohanraj R, Borland W. Alcohol and drugs in epilepsy: Pathophysiology, presentation, possibilities, and prevention. Epilepsia. 2012;53:48–57.
    • Rogawski, MA. Update on the Neurobiology of Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures. Epilepsy Curr. 20055(6):225–230.

    Email Alerts

    Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

    Sign Up Now