To evaluate the efficacy, safety, and economic impact of diazepam suppositories with as-needed acetaminophen in comparison with as-needed acetaminophen alone for prevention of seizure recurrence during the same fever episode in suspected pediatric simple febrile seizures (SFS).
This single-center, prospective, observational study was conducted from July 29, 2019 to February 15, 2021 at a children’s hospital. Children aged 6 months to 60 months presenting to the emergency department with suspected SFS were included. Participants receiving both diazepam suppositories and as-needed acetaminophen were compared with those receiving as-needed acetaminophen alone. The primary outcome was seizure recurrence during the same fever episode. The secondary outcomes included the incidence of central nervous system (CNS) pathologies, adverse events, and medical costs.
Of the 316 participants, 228 (72.2%) had their first febrile seizure. Diazepam (0.3-0.5 mg/kg for up to two doses) was administered to 88/316 patients (27.8%). The outcomes were available for 306 patients. The recurrence rate was 3.5% (3/85) in the patients receiving diazepam with as-needed acetaminophen and 12.2% (27/221) in the patients receiving as-needed acetaminophen alone (relative risk: 0.29 [95% CI: 0.09-0.93]; P=0.03). The adjusted odds ratio of diazepam administration against recurrence was 0.23 (95% CI: 0.07-0.78; P=0.02). None of the patients had a CNS pathology. No severe adverse events occurred although mild ataxia was observed significantly more often in the patients receiving diazepam and as-needed acetaminophen (29.4% vs 18.7%, P=0.04). The median medical cost was US Dollars 199 (IQR: 86-244) for the group receiving both medications and US Dollars 202 (IQR: 114-242) for the group receiving as-needed acetaminophen alone.
Compared with as-needed acetaminophen alone, diazepam with as-needed acetaminophen may reduce seizure recurrence more during the same fever episode without severe adverse events or additional costs in children with suspected SFS.