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How Long Does A Myoclonic Seizure Last? What Is The Best Drug For Myoclonic Seizure?

Myoclonic seizure is a short lived, shock like jerking or twitching of a single or a group of muscles. It is characterized by alternating contraction and relaxation of muscles. It is necessary to know how long does a myoclonic seizure last and what is the best medicine for myoclonic seizure, to plan better management.

The word myoclonic is derived from 2 words, i.e. “myo” referring to muscles and “clonic” referring to contraction/relaxation. In epilepsy, a myoclonic seizure is noted is association with jerking of both sides of the body. Myoclonic seizures is seen with epileptic syndromes such as:

This kind of seizures are usually developed during childhood but can be seen at any age. The condition generally improves after the age of 30. This seizure can be seen without epilepsy as well. It may be experienced while waking up from sleep with a sudden jerk particularly experienced when you are just about to fall asleep.

How Long Does a Myoclonic Seizure Last?

A commonly asked question is how long does a myoclonic seizure last? This is not only important in terms of treatment but also for better management at home.

Myoclonic seizures usually last for about 1 to 2 minutes. Sometimes, there may be multiple episodes within a short span of time. Multiple episodes of myoclonic seizures within a short span of time may indicate the commencement of another kind of seizure called as tonic-clonic seizure.

In most of the cases, the affected people wake up from sleep with a jerking movement of arms and legs. Myoclonic seizure is most commonly seen within 30 minutes after waking up or falling asleep. It often looks as if the person is just being clumsy or unsteady.

Proper evaluation of the seizure episode is necessary, for which the person and the care takers need to properly narrate the complaints. As much depends on the history and symptoms of the person, the time for which a myoclonic seizure lasts and the nature of the jerks must be noted carefully.

What is the Best Drug for Myoclonic Seizure?

In most of the cases, myoclonic seizures are not considered as emergency and do not require first aid. The affected person recovers almost immediately and goes back to daily routine without any difficulty. However, medical evaluation is advised if myoclonic seizure is experienced for the first time.

Treatment of myoclonic seizures involves lifestyle changes to avoid exposure to triggers. It is often recommended to get adequate rest and sleep, limit alcohol consumption, quit smoking and manage stress better. It is also recommended to avoid exposure to bright flickering lights. A large number of patients are prescribed medications for better management of the condition.

These medicines may include:

  • Valproic acid
  • Lamotrigine
  • Levetiracetam
  • Clonazepam
  • Topiramate.

Valproic acid (Sodium Valproate) is considered to be the best medicine for myoclonic seizure. This is not an over the counter drug and is available only with prescription. It is available in various dosage form such as tablet, capsule, liquid, extended release, delayed release etc. However, it is contraindicated in women in childbearing age. Women are prescribed other medications in most of the cases. Patients with myoclonic seizures may have to take medications for all their lives. The dosage may be reduced with increased age.

Now that you are aware of how long does a myoclonic seizure last and what is the best medicine for myoclonic seizure, it is clear that prompt treatment can help in every way. The need for the medicine and the dosage and duration should be correctly decided by the physician, hence it is necessary to follow medical advice.


  1. Epilepsy Foundation. (n.d.). Myoclonic Seizures. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures/myoclonic-seizures
  2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2018). Epilepsy Information Page. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Epilepsy-Information-Page
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Myoclonus. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myoclonus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350459
  4. Epilepsy Society. (2021). Myoclonic seizures. https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/myoclonic-seizures#.YV5KRi0RVhE

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 8, 2023

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