Auto-injectors may be better than IVs to treat prolonged seizures

Study conducted at OHSU and other major research hospitals finds method safe and effective

An auto-injector delivering an anti-convulsant drug into the muscle of a patient's thigh is faster and may be a more effective way to stop epileptic seizures than delivering a drug intravenously, according to a study published in the Feb. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was conducted over three years at Oregon Health & Science University and 16 other major research hospitals across the nation, and involved more than 4,000 paramedics and 893 patients.

Epileptic seizures cause 55,000 deaths each year. The study's findings are important because it can be very difficult to administer a drug intravenously to a patient experiencing seizures; giving an intramuscular shot is easier, faster and more reliable — and thus could save lives.

  • The full OHSU media release is available online