This is an updated version of the original Cochrane review published in Issue 3, 2003.
Absence seizures are brief epileptic seizures which present in childhood and adolescence. They are characterised by sudden loss of awareness and an electroencephalogram (EEG) typically shows generalised spike wave discharges at three cycles per second. Ethosuximide, valproate and lamotrigine are currently used to treat absence seizures. This review aims to determine the best choice of anticonvulsant for a child with typical absence seizures.