Textbooks and expert opinion recommend both diazepam and lorazepam as initial therapy for children in status epilepticus (SE) and provide recommended doses that are commonly used. However, unlike diazepam, lorazepam is only FDA-approved for treatment for SE in patients over 18 years of age. Despite this fact, many experts support the use of lorazepam over diazepam in pediatric SE. Increased duration of action, increased effectiveness in terminating SE, and a lower incidence of respiratory depression have been cited as potential advantages of lorazepam over diazepam. However, data to support firm recommendations for one medication over another are lacking. Thus, either diazepam (FDA-approved) or lorazepam can be considered first-line agents for pediatric SE, and the physician’s choice of agent depends on local practice patterns and individual treatment styles.
The purpose of this study is to determine the differences in efficacy and safety between these two commonly used benzodiazepines, as requested by the FDA under the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, using the Exception from Informed Consent provided by the FDA.