Intravenous lidocaine successfully controlled convulsive status epilepticus in eight patients. Lidocaine was administered, as a diazepam substitute, to elderly patients with chronic obstructive lung disease and to those patients unresponsive to the stated doses of intravenous diazepam. Although transient disappearance of seizures was noted after an initial dose of 100 mg, infusion of 200 mg was necessary to effectively control status. Continuous lidocaine infusion (3.5 mg/kg/h) was used in one case with good results. Undesirable side effects were not seen. The basic mechanisms for possible anticonvulsant action are reviewed. Lidocaine seems to be an effective and safe drug in convulsive status epilepticus. We suggest that lidocaine may be used as a first-line drug, as a diazepam substitute, in the treatment of convulsive status epilepticus in patients in whom respiratory depression is undesirable and in those who do not respond to intravenous diazepam.