Unlike myoclonic seizures (which cause muscles to tense), atonic seizures cause the muscles to go limp. The patient’s body may slump or crumple to the ground, possibly causing injury.
The areas of the brain stem responsible for increasing and decreasing muscle tone are close together, which means atonic and myoclonic seizures probably begin in the same place. Patients experiencing sudden dramatic changes in muscle tone will often suffer from either or both types of seizures.
Atonic seizures may be indicative of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
How are atonic seizures treated?
There is no one treatment method for any patient with a seizure disorder. Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual patient based on their diagnosis and symptoms. Treatment options may include medical therapy, nerve stimulation, dietary therapy, or surgery, as appropriate. Clinical trials may also be a valuable treatment alternative.