Treatment of children with simple febrile seizures: the AAP practice parameter. American Academy of Pediatrics

Pediatr Neurol. 2000 Jul;23(1):11-7. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(00)00148-x.


Febrile seizures are the most common seizure disorder in childhood, occurring in 2-5% of children. Despite their frequency, there has been little unanimity of opinion regarding the need for long-term antiepileptic therapy. As such, the American Academy of Pediatrics formulated a subcommittee to study the subject. A Practice Parameter was developed that addressed the issue of whether continuous or intermittent antiepileptic therapy is necessary for children with simple febrile seizures. The committee determined that with the exception of a high rate of recurrence, no long-term adverse effects of simple febrile seizures have been identified. The risk of developing epilepsy is extremely low and, even in those patients who do, there is no evidence that recurrent simple febrile seizures produce structural central nervous system damage. Also, there is no evidence that recurrent simple febrile seizures cause either learning problems or premature death. The committee concluded that although there is the evidence that continuous antiepileptic therapy with phenobarbital or valproic acid and intermittent therapy with diazepam are effective in reducing the risk of recurrence, the potential toxicities associated with antiepileptic therapy outweigh the relatively minor risks associated with simple febrile seizures. As such, long-term treatment is not recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Phenobarbital / administration & dosage
  • Phenobarbital / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Seizures, Febrile / drug therapy*
  • Seizures, Febrile / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Valproic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Valproic Acid
  • Phenobarbital