Expert opinion: Proposed diagnostic and treatment algorithms for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in adult patients

Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Sep:110:107146. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107146. Epub 2020 Jun 18.


Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a severe developmental epileptic encephalopathy diagnosed in childhood that persists through adolescence and into adulthood. While the characteristics of LGS in pediatric patients are well defined, including "drop attacks", interictal slow spike and wave electroencephalogram (EEG) activity, and intellectual disability, these features can evolve over time, and different EEG activities may be present in adult patients with LGS. This may result in missed diagnoses in these patients and subsequent challenges for the adequate treatment of their seizures. Based on discussions held during the LGS Transition of Care advisory board meeting and thereafter, we developed proposed diagnostic and treatment algorithms for LGS in adult patients. We highlight readily available assessments to facilitate diagnosis of LGS, based on past medical history and physical examination. The LGS diagnostic algorithm recommends that clinicians consider the occurrence of wider seizure types and abnormal EEG activities to be potentially indicative of LGS. Seizure types may include atypical absence seizures, myoclonic seizures, focal seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures, and EEG may demonstrate background slowing, focal or multifocal epileptiform discharges, and diffuse fast rhythms during sleep, among other activities. Extended EEG during sleep and video-EEG should be used in equivocal cases. Treatment of LGS in adult patients should incorporate both antiseizure drug (ASD) therapy and nonpharmacologic approaches. Frequent reassessment of patients is considered a central aspect. ASDs were categorized based on order of preference for use in the treatment of LGS; Tier 1 comprises recommended first-line ASDs, and includes valproate, clobazam, lamotrigine, rufinamide, topiramate, and cannabidiol. Other treatment options include diet, neurostimulation, and surgical approaches. Developments with the potential to improve diagnosis in the future include genetic screening, while novel ASDs and advances in neurostimulation techniques may provide valuable treatment options. These algorithms should be frequently revisited to incorporate improved techniques and therapies.

Keywords: Adult; Diagnosis; Epilepsy; Lennox–Gastaut syndrome; Transition of care; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Clobazam / therapeutic use
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Expert Testimony / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability / drug therapy
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Triazoles
  • Clobazam
  • rufinamide