From 1982 through 1987, 128 families, who were instructed in the use of rectally administered diazepam (R-DZP) for the treatment of severe epileptic seizures, were surveyed. Sixty-seven families returned questionnaires and met inclusion/exclusion criteria; the results were used to analyze the medical, psychosocial, and economic impact of this program during the first year following instruction. Twenty-six families did not use R-DZP, primarily because of patient improvement. Among families using R-DZP, a total of 428 doses were administered to 41 children. R-DZP was effective in controlling seizures in 85% of patients. Adverse reactions usually were mild, consisting of drowsiness and/or behavioral changes. Compared to the year prior to instruction, emergency room visits decreased in both R-DZP-treated and -nontreated children; however, cost-savings were greater for the R-DZP group ($1,039.00 vs $420.00 per patient per year). Improvements in quality of life associated with the availability of R-DZP were observed by 58% of users and 27% of nonusers which included improved management of their children's seizures, increased flexibility in family activities, and greater peace of mind. R-DZP appears to be a practical method in the effective treatment of severe seizures at home.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by grants from the Ramsey Foundation, American Society of Hospital Pharmacists Foundation, and the Upjohn Company.