Persistent catatonia following epileptic seizures: a case report and systematic literature search

Ragnar Verbraeken, Jurjen J Luykx

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BACKGROUND: Catatonia is frequently associated with mood and psychotic disorders as well as with general medical conditions, especially with seizures. In the case of the latter, catatonia mostly resolves when the seizures respond to the anticonvulsive treatment. We report, to our knowledge, the first case of a patient without affective or psychotic disorder, who developed catatonia in the postictum and whose catatonia did not resolve with anticonvulsive treatment, but did so with lorazepam.

CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a 36-year-old man, with no psychiatric history, except for a possible disorder in the use of cannabis, who developed catatonia after epileptic seizures. The catatonia did not respond to the anticonvulsant therapy, but did so to lorazepam 17 mg/d. Lorazepam could be tapered slowly and stopped without reemergence of catatonic signs.

CONCLUSION: Catatonia should be part of the differential diagnosis in patients with bradyphrenia and/or remarkable postictal behavior. This report shows that lorazepam should be taken into consideration (before moving to ECT), in cases of unresolved catatonia, even if the seizures are reduced with anticonvulsants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number350
JournalBMC psychiatry [E]
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Catatonia
  • Delirium
  • Lorazepam
  • Postictum


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