Prescription of emergency antiepileptic medication after a first childhood seizure: analysis of routine administrative data

Epileptic Disord. 2015 Jun;17(2):172-6. doi: 10.1684/epd.2015.0745.


Aim: UK guidelines do not recommend prescribing emergency antiepileptic drugs after first simple febrile seizures or for single afebrile seizures. Non-adherence to the guidelines could result in substantial health service cost.

Methods: Scottish national hospital discharge records were used to identify children aged one month to 4 years admitted for a first febrile seizures or single afebrile seizures between April 2009 and March 2012. Prescriptions for antiepileptic drugs within 12 months of index admission were identified on the national community prescribing database by matching unique patient identifiers.

Results: There were 1,978 and 663 children admitted for febrile seizures and single afebrile seizures, respectively. One percent of children admitted with febrile seizures and 1.7% with single afebrile seizures had a subsequent community prescription record for emergency antiepileptic drugs within 12 months of index admission. Total cost of emergency antiepileptic drugs following febrile seizures and single afebrile seizures for the study period was just over £900.

Conclusion: Health care providers and policy makers can be reassured that emergency antiepileptic drugs are not being inappropriately overprescribed for febrile seizures and single afebrile seizures.

Keywords: emergency; febrile seizures; population-based.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Scotland
  • Seizures, Febrile / drug therapy*


  • Anticonvulsants