Overt status epilepticus and persistent obtundation after a witnessed clinical seizure are neurologic emergencies. Early recognition and intervention in the electroclinical syndrome of status epilepticus reduces morbidity, although treatment of the underlying etiology is also critical. This review outlines key concepts related to status epilepticus, delineates an approach to the early management of status epilepticus, and highlights novel but practical approaches in the evaluation and treatment of refractory status epilepticus, emphasizing the use of a treatment algorithm. This review is written from the perspective of the intensive care unit clinician, and the approach and opinions expressed stem from clinical experience and review of the current literature. Particular attention is given to an overall approach to the management of convulsive status epilepticus in adults and older children as well as exploring novel approaches and diagnostic tools that may prove useful in difficult-to-control status epilepticus.