Intranasal therapies for acute seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Aug;49:303-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.04.027. Epub 2015 May 26.


Most seizure emergencies occur outside of the hospital, and there is a need for treatment interventions that can be administered quickly and safely by nonclinical caregivers. Intranasal benzodiazepine administration does not require intravenous access and offers rapid seizure cessation. Intranasal midazolam is faster at aborting seizure activity than rectal diazepam and quicker to administer than intravenous diazepam. Although time to seizure cessation varies from study to study, intranasal midazolam is efficacious when administered not only by emergency department personnel but also by paramedics and caregivers in out-of-hospital and home settings. Absorption of midazolam intranasal formulations appears to be relatively rapid compared to diazepam formulations. Its shorter elimination half-life may also be beneficial in that patients may more quickly return to normal function because of rapid offset of effect. On the other hand, the faster rate of elimination of midazolam may expose patients to a higher rate of seizure recurrence compared with diazepam. Two diazepam formulations and one midazolam formulation are being currently developed for intranasal use. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Status Epilepticus".

Keywords: Acute repetitive seizures; Benzodiazepine; Diazepam; Intranasal; Lorazepam; Midazolam; Prolonged seizure; Seizure; Seizure cluster; Status epilepticus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Lorazepam / administration & dosage
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage
  • Seizures / drug therapy*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Lorazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Midazolam