Most medical therapies for epilepsy consist of daily (or multiple-daily) dose, fixed-schedule, pharmacologic oral agents. Despite adherence, many patients continue to experience seizures. Various products have been discovered, designed, and marketed to serve as seizure-abortant therapies. These agents can be administered rapidly, as a "rescue" therapy, once a clinical seizure or cluster of seizures starts. Rescue medications are given as needed in an attempt to disrupt progression of a given seizure, and forestall what would otherwise be a more prolonged or more severe clinical event. Seizure-abortants also serve to aid in the management of seizure emergencies, such as prolonged, repetitive seizures, or status epilepticus. These compounds are not appropriate for all patients. Nevertheless, they do provide therapeutic benefit to several groups of patients: 1) those who perceive the onset of their seizures and have time to perform a self-intervention, 2) patients' caregivers who administer the therapy when they witness the onset of an ictal event, and 3) patients who are in the midst of an out-of-the-hospital seizure emergency (a seizure cluster or status epilepticus). In this article we will review currently available and future rescue therapies for seizures: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and FDA nonapproved drugs, nonpharmacologic behavioral treatments, the vagus nerve stimulator and the NeuroPace RNS® System (Mountain View, CA).
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