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Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

What is Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome?

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy. Seizures usually begin before 4 years of age. Seizure types, which vary among patients, include tonic (stiffening of the body, upward deviation of the eyes, dilation of the pupils, and altered respiratory patterns), atonic (brief loss of muscle tone and consciousness, causing abrupt falls), atypical absence (staring spells), and myoclonic (sudden muscle jerks). There may be periods of frequent seizures mixed with brief, relatively seizure-free periods. Most children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience some degree of impaired intellectual functioning or information processing, along with developmental delays, and behavioral disturbances. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can be caused by brain malformations, perinatal asphyxia, severe head injury, central nervous system infection and inherited degenerative or metabolic conditions. In 30-35 percent of cases, no cause can be found.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome includes anti-epileptic medications such as valproate, lamotrigine, felbamate, or topiramate. There is usually no single antiepileptic medication that will control seizures. Children who improve initially may later show tolerance to a drug or have uncontrollable seizures.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for individuals with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome varies. There is no cure for the disorder. Complete recovery, including freedom from seizures and normal development, is very unusual.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports a broad program of basic and clinical research on epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These studies are aimed at finding the causes of these disorders, improving the diagnosis, and developing new medications and other therapies.

Organizations

Epilepsy Foundation

8301 Professional Place
Landover, MD 20785-7223
Phone: 301.459.3700
Toll-free: 800.EFA.1000 (332.1000)
Fax: 301.577.2684
Email: postmaster@efa.org
Website: www.epilepsyfoundation.org

Intractable Childhood Epilepsy Alliance

PO Box 365
6360 Shallowford Road
Lewisville, NC 27023
Phone: 336.946.1570
Fax: 336.946.1571
Email: info@ice-epilepsy.org
Website: www.ice-epilepsy.org

Source: National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/11/2012...#6036