Todd's Paralysis

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What is Todd's paralysis?

Todd's paralysis is a neurological condition experienced by individuals with epilepsy, in which a seizure is followed by a brief period of temporary paralysis. The paralysis may be partial or complete but usually occurs on just one side of the body. It can last from 30 minutes to 36 hours, with an average of 15 hours, before it resolves completely. Todd's paralysis may also affect speech and vision.

Scientists don't know what causes Todd's paralysis. Current theories suggest biological processes in the brain that involve a slowdown in either the energy output of neurons (nerve cells) or in the motor (movement) centers of the brain.

It is important to distinguish Todd's paralysis from a stroke, which it can resemble, because a stroke requires completely a different treatment plan.

There is no treatment for Todd's paralysis. Individuals must rest as comfortably as possible until the paralysis disappears.

Todd's paralysis is an indication that an individual has had an epileptic seizure. The outcome depends on the effects of the seizure and the treatment of the epilepsy.

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with Todd's paralysis?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about Todd's paralysis and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with Todd's paralysis at

Where can I find more information about Todd's paralysis?

Information may be available from the following resource:

Epilepsy Foundation
Phone: 301-459-3700 or 800-332-1000; 866-748-8008 Spanish

Learn about related topics

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.