What is the role of lab tests in the evaluation of suspected epileptic seizures?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Potentially useful laboratory tests for patients with suspected epileptic seizures include the following:

  • Prolactin levels obtained shortly after a seizure to assess the etiology (epileptic vs nonepileptic) of a spell; levels are typically elevated 3- or 4-fold and more likely to occur with generalized tonic-clonic seizures than with other seizure types; however, the considerable variability of prolactin levels has precluded their routine clinical use

  • Serum levels of anticonvulsant agents to determine baseline levels, potential toxicity, lack of efficacy, treatment noncompliance, and/or autoinduction or pharmacokinetic change

  • CSF examination in patients with obtundation or in patients in whom meningitis or encephalitis is suspected

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