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Neonatal seizures: diagnosis, pharmacologic interventions, and outcomes.

Neonatal seizures are difficult to detect, diagnose, and manage. Infants with a history of seizures often have long-term neurologic sequelae. Controversy exists as to whether neonatal seizures themselves cause damage to the developing brain, and thus, subsequent sequelae; or if these sequelae are due primarily to the underlying cause of the seizures. Treatment of seizures involves identifying and treating the underlying etiology of the seizure and appropriate use of pharmacologic interventions. To provide the context for pharmacological management of seizures in newborns, this article examines the pathophysiology and etiology of seizures and discusses pharmacological agents and issues, short- and long-term outcomes, clinical implications, and directions for future research. Understanding pharmacological issues within this context provides a comprehensive foundation for decision making and management of neonatal seizures.

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