Benzodiazepines in the treatment of epilepsy in people with intellectual disability.J Intellect Disabil Res. 1998 Dec; 42 Suppl 1:80-92.JI
All the benzodiazepines (BZDs) in clinical use have the capacity to promote the binding of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), to sub-types of GABA receptors which exist as multi-subunit ligand-gated chloride channels. Thus, the BZDs facilitate the actions of GABA in the brain. The BZDs in use as antiepileptic drugs are diazepam, clonazepam, clobazam, nitrazepam, and lately, also lorazepam and midazolam as emergency therapy. The BZDs have a wide-spectrum of proven clinical efficacy in the prevention of different kind of seizures. Clonazepam and clobazam, as well as nitrazepam in some cases, can be useful as an adjunct treatment in refractory epilepsies. However, the clinical use of BZDs for the prophylactic treatment of epilepsy is associated with two major problems which have limited the long-term use of these drugs: the potential for side-effects, especially sedative effects, and the high risk of development of tolerance. Despite the limitations of BZDs in the prophylactic treatment of epilepsies, these drugs play a prominent role in clinical practice in the emergency management of acute seizures and status epilepticus. Diazepam, clonazepam and lorazepam are all considered first-line agents in the emergency management of acute seizures and status epilepticus. Furthermore, the value of midazolam as an emergency therapy in epilepsy has been increasingly recognized in recent years.