Intravenous lacosamide or phenytoin for treatment of refractory status epilepticus




To compare intravenous phenytoin (PHT) and intravenous lacosamide (LCM) for treatment of status epilepticus after failure of the first and second drug.


We retrospectively identified patients from a large community hospital in northern Germany who had been diagnosed with SE between August 2008 and December 2010. Patients who had failed to respond to the first two drugs were selected for this analysis.


Forty-six patients (23 female, median age 68 years) were identified. LCM was used as third drug in 21 patients (median bolus 400 mg) and PHT in 15 patients (median bolus 1500 mg). Pretreatment was similar regarding substance groups (benzodiazepine as first line, levetiracetam as second line drug) and bolus doses. Status epilepticus was terminated in six patients (40%) of the PHT group and in seven patients (33%) of the LCM group. Four patients (27%) of the PHT group and no patient of the LCM group suffered from a relevant, treatment-related side effect during administration of the third drug.


Lacosamide and PHT showed similar success rates for treatment of SE when used after failure of benzodiazepines and levetiracetam. However, PHT was associated with relevant side effects that were not seen with LCM.