Comments for consumers
This page/column contains information which may be of interest to consumers. The information is based on articles which appear in Australian Prescriber. As Australian Prescriber is written for health professionals, you should discuss any issues raised by this page/column with your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to give a more detailed answer to your questions by reading the main article.
Australian Prescriber is unable to comment on individual cases or give second opinions.
The use of rectal diazepam for the treatment of prolonged convulsions in children
The treatment of childhood epilepsy aims to prevent the child from having fits. Sometimes fits can still occur despite treatment. It is important to try to stop fits which last more than a few minutes as there is a risk of brain damage. If such fits occur often at home, some parents may be supplied with a drug (diazepam) to use for their child in an emergency. This drug usually stops the fits within 10 minutes. To get diazepam into the body quickly, it has to be given into the child's anus. If there is no response to the drug, the child must be taken to hospital urgently.
Any family who may be offered diazepam for their child with epilepsy will need to discuss the implications with their doctor and be instructed in how to use it at home. Parents are often advised to call an ambulance before giving diazepam.