Treatment of status epilepticus with midazolam in the critical care setting

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Status epilepticus (SE) is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires prompt and aggressive treatment. Prolonged status seizures are associated with significant physiological sequelae and neurological deficits. Although systemic events such as hyperthermia and anoxia contribute to neuronal damage, SE in and of itself can induce cell death. In general, the sooner it is brought under control, the more favourable is the prognosis. Benzodiazepines, as a group, are the most frequently used anticonvulsants in the management of status seizures. Midazolam, a water-soluble benzodiazepine, is a potent anticonvulsant that offers many advantages over typical benzodiazepines. Because of its stability in aqueous media, midazolam dissolves in common diluents such as normal saline or dextrose water. Consequently, midazolam both intravenously (i.v.) and intramuscularly (i.m.) is well tolerated locally and is associated with less venoirritation than benzodiazepines or antiepileptics that require organic solvents. The water solubility of midazolam also allows rapid and reliable absorption of the drug from the i.m. injection site. Because it is rapidly metabolised and its metabolites are pharmacologically inactive, midazolam has a short duration of action. Most patients regain full conscious state and can be evaluated soon after the cessation of treatment. Midazolam by continuous i.v. infusion and by the i.m. route has been successfully used in the treatment of SE. Although some respiratory and haemodynamic side-effects have been associated with midazolam, no clinically significant side-effects were observed with its use for the indication of SE. It is suggested that midazolam is a safe and rapidly effective treatment option in the management of SE in the critical care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of clinical practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 23 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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