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How Effective Is Midazolam for Seizures?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Midazolam for seizures can be a highly effective, fast-acting treatment for a patient in crisis. In some settings, it is preferred to medications like valium and diazepam which can be used for the same purpose. This benzodiazepine medication must be used with care to allow patients to experience benefits with a low risk of side effects, as there can be concerns about creating complications with epilepsy treatment. Patients who experience severe epilepsy may be given a standing prescription of midazolam for seizures so they can use it at home.

One use of midazolam for seizures is in the hospital setting when a patient presents with a dangerous condition called status epilepticus. In this type of prolonged seizure, the electrical signals don’t stop and the seizure can last five minutes or more. Administration of midazolam can help stop the seizure and stabilize the patient before injury occurs. Patients can also use this medication at home for acute seizures, and may need to consult a doctor after they recover to determine if follow-up is necessary.

Clinical studies on midazolam for seizures show that it can be highly effective. It stops seizures quickly and offers a very fast recovery time. This also means the medication has a short duration of action, which can come with a mixture of risks and benefits. Risk-wise, it means the patient could experience another seizure as the medication wears off, but in terms of benefits, the brief duration also means that care providers can assess whether the patient is really recovering or is in a state of temporary sedation caused by medication.

It is possible to administer midazolam for seizures rectally or through the nose, depending on the situation. Nasal administration can be less invasive and more comfortable, which may be an advantage for patients. The medication is less likely to cause respiratory problems that other benzodiazepines used to manage seizures, which can be another consideration, especially for home use. Overall, the benefits of using this medication generally outweigh the risks as it tends to outperform some other drugs.

Using midazolam for seizures may be contraindicated in the case of some types of epilepsy, or for patients with specific events in their history. Correct dosage is also critical to avoid complications associated with high dosing. For patients who use benzodiazepines extensively, there are also concerns about causing seizures, an important consideration for a patient with epilepsy that is not responding well to treatment. These patients may require frequent high doses of benzodiazepines for emergency situations.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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