The frequency of seizures after stroke is high, with a severe impact on the quality of life. However, little is known about their prevention. Therefore, we investigated whether early administration of diazepam prevents the development of seizures in acute stroke patients.
We performed a substudy of the EGASIS trial, a multicenter double-blind, randomized trial in which acute stroke patients were treated with diazepam or placebo for 3 days. Follow-up was after 2 weeks and 3 months. The occurrence of seizures was registered prospectively as one of the prespecified secondary outcomes.
784 EGASIS patients were eligible for this substudy (389 treated with diazepam [49.6%] and 395 treated with placebo [50.4%]). Seizures were reported in 19 patients (2.4% of the total patient group). Seizures occurred less frequently in patients treated with diazepam (1.5 vs. 3.3% in the placebo group); however, this difference was only statistically significant in patients with a cortical anterior circulation infarction (0.9% in the diazepam group vs. 4.6% in the placebo group, incidence rate ratio 0.20, 95% CI: 0.05-0.78, p = 0.02, NNT = 27).
We found that a 3-day treatment with diazepam after acute cortical anterior circulation stroke prevents the occurrence of seizures in the first 3 months following stroke.