Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Epilepsy: Atonic Seizures

    Epilepsy: Atonic Seizures

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    An atonic seizure is a sudden loss of muscle tone in the muscles that hold the body and head upright.

    • The seizure occurs without warning and usually causes the person to fall down.
    • Some atonic seizures may be more limited, only causing the person's head to drop for a moment.

    Atonic seizures are fairly uncommon and occur mostly in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This is a severe form of generalized epilepsy that begins in early childhood. (Children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may also have tonic seizures.)

    People who have atonic or tonic seizures are likely to be injured when they fall. Children may have to wear helmets and restrict their activities to prevent serious injury.

    Related Information


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology

    Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015

    Current as of: February 20, 2015

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    © 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.