In 1991, it was discovered that flumazenil was an antagonist of the effects that benzodiazepines have on the central nervous system (CNS).
This means it will reverse the effects of an overdose.
Flumazenil (brand name Romazicon) can reverse the sedation (coma) associated with benzo overdose.
How Flumazenil Works To Reverse Benzodiazepine Overdose
The common symptoms of a benzo overdose include unconsciousness and respiratory depression.
While flumazenil will reverse these symptoms, they will only be reversed for a short amount of time.
Some benzo overdoses can last several days, requiring repeated dosing of Romazicon.
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Using The Benzodiazepine Antidote Can Be Dangerous
Flumazenil should never be used when the person has additional drugs besides benzodiazepines or if the person is in withdrawal from benzodiazepines.
There is a significant risk of seizure when flumazenil is administered under those circumstances.
Additionally, the following risks are possible with flumazenil use:
- tachycardia (increased heart rate)
- arrhythmias (irregular heart rate)
When a person takes benzos daily, administering flumazenil during an overdose can cause immediate withdrawal symptoms, and the person may experience severe seizures.
Solo Benzodiazepine Overdose Is Rare
Most often, when a person experiences an overdose with benzodiazepines, there are other substances involved, such as alcohol, opioids, or some other narcotic.
Administering flumazenil is not suggested in those circumstances, and therefore is not a good choice for someone in need of a benzodiazepine overdose reversal.
Treatment Options For Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzodiazepine addiction treatment includes monitoring withdrawal symptoms and a substance abuse treatment program to address the nature of addiction.
A detox program is strongly suggested followed by an inpatient treatment program.
Contact our specialized, trained staff to learn about options for benzodiazepine addiction and how to get help for you or your loved one soon.
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- Clinical Trial — Protective effect of flumazenil infusion in severe acute benzodiazepine toxicity: a pilot randomized trial
- Critical Care — Common antidotes used in the ICU
- Drugs & Diseases — Benzodiazepine Toxicity Medication, Benzodiazepine Toxicity Treatment & Management