Learn About Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure

What is the definition of Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?

Bilateral tonic-clonic seizure is a type of seizure that involves the entire body. It is also called grand mal seizure. The terms generalized seizure, convulsion, or epilepsy are most often associated with bilateral tonic-clonic seizures.

Save information for later
Sign Up
What are the alternative names for Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?

Seizure - tonic-clonic; Seizure - grand mal; Grand mal seizure; Seizure - generalized; Epilepsy - generalized seizure

What are the causes of Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?

Seizures result from overactivity in the brain. Bilateral tonic-clonic seizures may occur in people of any age. They can occur once (single episode). Or, they can occur as part of a repeated, chronic illness (epilepsy). Some seizures are due to psychological problems (psychogenic or non-epileptic).

What are the symptoms of Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?

Many people with generalized bilateral tonic-clonic seizures have one or more symptoms such as:

  • Vision, taste, smell, or sensory changes.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Dizziness before the seizure. This is called an aura.

Some people have a focal seizure (only affecting one part) that becomes a bilateral tonic clonic seizure.

The seizures often result in rigid muscles (tonic phase). This is followed by violent muscle contractions (clonic phase). Other symptoms that occur during the seizure may include:

  • Biting the cheek or tongue
  • Clenched teeth or jaw
  • Loss of urine or stool control (incontinence)
  • Stopped breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Blue skin color

After the seizure, the person may have:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness that lasts for 1 hour or longer (called the post-ictal state)
  • Loss of memory (amnesia) about the seizure episode
  • Headache
  • Weakness of one side of the body for a few minutes to a few hours following seizure (called Todd paralysis)
Not sure about your diagnosis?
Check Your Symptoms
What are the current treatments for Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?

Treatment for tonic-clonic seizures includes medicines, changes in lifestyle for adults and children, such as activity and diet, and sometimes surgery. Your doctor can tell you more about these options.

First aid convulsions, part 1
Who are the top Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure Local Doctors?
Learn about our expert tiers
Learn more
What are the latest Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure Clinical Trials?
A Natural History Study of hnRNP and Other Gene-related Disorders

Summary: The purpose of this study is to analyze patterns in individuals with hnRNP (and other) genetic variants, including their neurological comorbidities, other medical problems and any treatment. The investigators will maintain an ongoing database of medical data that is otherwise being collected for routine medical care. The investigators will also collect data prospectively in the form of questionnai...

Match to trials
Find the right clinical trials for you in under a minute
Get started
Human Epilepsy Genetics--Neuronal Migration Disorders Study

Summary: The purpose of this study is to identify genes responsible for epilepsy and disorders of human cognition.

What are the Latest Advances for Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure?
Eslicarbazepine Acetate as Adjunctive Therapy for Primary Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures in Adults: A Prospective Observational Study.
Assessment of the long-term efficacy and safety of adjunctive perampanel in adolescent patients with epilepsy: Post hoc analysis of open-label extension studies.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Characterization and management of facial angiofibroma related to tuberous sclerosis complex in the United States: retrospective analysis of the natural history database.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: January 23, 2022
Published By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 100.

Leach JP, Davenport RJ. Neurology. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 25.

Thijs RD, Surges R, O'Brien TJ, Sander JW. Epilepsy in adults. Lancet. 2019;393(10172):689-701. PMID: 30686584 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30686584/.

Wiebe S. The epilepsies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 375.