Generalised epilepsy

Generalised epilepsy

Generalized epilepsy
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G40.3
ICD-9 345.0-345.1
MeSH D004829

Generalized epilepsy, also known as primary generalized epilepsy or idiopathic epilepsy, is a form of epilepsy characterised by generalised seizures with no apparent cause.[1] Generalized seizures, as opposed to partial seizures, are a type of seizure that impairs consciousness and distorts the electrical activity of the whole or a larger portion of the brain (which can be seen, for example, on electroencephalography, EEG).[2]

Generalized epilepsy is primary because the epilepsy is the originally diagnosed condition itself, as opposed to secondary epilepsy, which occurs as a symptom of a known as diagnosed condition.[3]


Generalized seizures can be either absence seizures, myoclonic seizures, clonic seizures, tonic-clonic seizures or atonic seizures.

Generalized seizures occur in various seizure syndromes, including myoclonic epilepsy, familial neonatal convulsions, childhood absence epilepsy, absence epilepsy, infantile spasms (West's syndrome), Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.


Most generalized epilepsy starts during childhood. While some patients outgrow their epilepsy during adolescence and no longer need medication, in others, the condition remains for life, thereby requiring lifelong medication and monitoring.


Six anti-epileptic drugs are approved for use in cases of suspected primary generalized epilepsy:

All anti-epileptic drugs (including the above) can be used in cases of partial seizures.


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