Effects of amobarbital and methohexital on epileptic activity in mesial temporal structures in epileptic patients. An EEG study with depth electrodes

Acta Neurol Scand. 1984 Dec;70(6):423-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1984.tb00847.x.


Bilateral intracarotidal Amytal (amobarbital) tests for evaluation of speech and memory function were performed during preoperative evaluation of 30 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. In 8 of these patients (16 tests), having partial complex epilepsy, EEG was recorded with depth electrodes, implanted bilaterally in anterior mesial temporal structures. The EEGs during 13 tests could be quantified with regard to spike activity. A rapid increase in spike frequency was observed ipsilateral to the injection in all tests but one. No seizure activity or clinical seizures were provoked. This previously unnoticed effect of amobarbital could be due to a direct excitatory effect of the drug on epileptic temporal neurones or, alternatively, to a release of interictal inhibition, exerted upon these neurons by other structures. In 4 patients, the effect was compared with that of methohexital, another barbiturate known to have excitatory effects upon epileptic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amobarbital / pharmacology*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methohexital / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged


  • Methohexital
  • Amobarbital