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February 1965

Diazepam (Valium) in Myoclonic Seizures: Favorable Response During Infancy and Childhood

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, Instructor, and St. Louis Children's Hospital, Assistant Physician (Dr. Weinberg), Co-Chief Resident (Dr. Harwell).

Am J Dis Child. 1965;109(2):123-127. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090020125006

Introduction  ONE OF THE most discouraging problems facing the pediatrician today is the child with myoclonic seizures. These seizures are characterized by a brief lapse of consciousness, lasting only seconds, with abrupt, symmetrical flexion of the head, trunk, and/or extremities. Onset is usually in early infancy.1 Other terms used to describe these attacks include salaam jerks, lightning major seizures, massive spasms, jackknife attacks, Blitzkrampfe, and infantile spasms.22 These seizures often herald a downhill course marked by uncontrollable massive spasms and severe mental retardation. Many of the infants have preexisting "brain damage" of heterogeneous etiology1; however, there are some who appear neurologically normal at the onset of the seizures.2,3It is generally accepted that the seizure is only a symptom of an underlying "damaged" central nervous system and most times is refractory to therapy with conventional anticonvulsant agents.1,2 The value of corticosteroids in controlling the myoclonic

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