How is flumazenil used to counteract benzodiazepine sedation?

Updated: Nov 06, 2018
  • Author: Arul M Lingappan, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

Flumazenil is a competitive antagonist of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. The onset of action is within 1-2 minutes after intravenous administration, with peak effects within 10 minutes. The duration of action is dose-related, but it is typically shorter than that of longer-acting benzodiazepines. Repeat dosing may be required. The total recommended dose in adults is 1 mg, which sustains reversal for up to 48 minutes. Flumazenil is generally given in increments of 0.2 mg, titrated to effect. Exercise caution in patients receiving long-term benzodiazepine therapy because it may precipitate acute withdrawal and seizures. [1]


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