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A myoclonic seizure is a single or series of jerks (brief muscle contractions). Each jerk is typically milliseconds in duration. Myoclonic status epilepticus is characterized by ongoing (> 30 minutes) irregular jerking, often with partially retained awareness. These two features distinguish a myoclonic status epilepticus from a generalized clonic seizure, where consciousness is lost and the jerking is sustained and rhythmic.

NOTE Myoclonic seizures are one type of seizure that can result in a "drop attack", other causes of drop attacks include tonic, atonic and myoclonic-atonic seizures.

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