Management of Epileptic Seizures in Disorders of Consciousness: An International Survey

The International Brain Injury Association's Disorders of Consciousness Special Interest Group (IBIA's DOC SIG)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epileptic seizures/post-traumatic epilepsy (ES/PTE) are frequent in persons with brain injuries, particularly for patients with more severe injuries including ones that result in disorders of consciousness (DoC). Surprisingly, there are currently no best practice guidelines for assessment or management of ES in persons with DoC. This study aimed to identify clinician attitudes toward epilepsy prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment in patients with DoC as well as current practice in regards to the use of amantadine in these individuals. A cross-sectional online survey was sent to members of the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA). Fifty physician responses were included in the final analysis. Withdrawal of antiepileptic drug/anti-seizure medications (AED/ASM) therapy was guided by the absence of evidence of clinical seizure whether or not the AED/ASM was given prophylactically or for actual seizure/epilepsy treatment. Standard EEG was the most frequent diagnostic method utilized. The majority of respondents ordered an EEG if there were concerns regarding lack of neurological progress. AED/ASM prescription was reported to be triggered by the first clinically evident seizure with levetiracetam being the AED/ASM of choice. Amantadine was frequently prescribed although less so in patients with epilepsy and/or EEG based epileptic abnormalities. A minority of respondents reported an association between amantadine and seizure. Longitudinal studies on epilepsy management, epilepsy impact on neurologic prognosis, as well as potential drug effects on seizure risk in persons with DoC appear warranted with the goal of pushing guideline development forward and improving clinical assessment and management of seizures in this unique, albeit challenging, population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number799579
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 11 2022


  • acquired brain injury (ABI)
  • amantadine
  • diagnosis
  • disorders of consciousness (DoC)
  • epileptic seizure
  • prophylaxis
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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