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NINDS Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Information Page


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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 clobazam and 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.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
Epilepsy Foundation
8301 Professional Place
Landover, MD   20785-7223
postmaster@efa.org
http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org
Tel: 301-459-3700 800-EFA-1000 (332-1000)
Fax: 301-577-2684

Intractable Childhood Epilepsy Alliance
PO Box 365
6360 Shallowford Road
Lewisville, NC   27023
info@ice-epilepsy.org
http://www.ice-epilepsy.org
Tel: 336-946-1570
Fax: 336-946-1571

LGS Foundation
192 Lexington Avenue
Ste 216
New York, NY   10016
info@lgsfoundation.org
http://lgsfoundation.org/index.html
Tel: 212-802-1401

 
Related NINDS Publications and Information
  • Epilepsy: Hope Through Research
    Information booklet on seizures, seizure disorders, and epilepsy compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated August 20, 2014