Is intranasal midazolam an effective rescue medication in adolescents and adults with severe epilepsy?

Seizure. 2000 Sep;9(6):417-22. doi: 10.1053/seiz.2000.0425.


The aim of this study was to determine whether intranasal midazolam is a safe and effective rescue medication in adolescent and adult patients with severe epilepsy. This field trial was designed to test the feasibility of the use of intranasal midazolam as an alternative to rectal diazepam in a cohort of patients with severe epilepsy who require rescue medication as part of their treatment. A dose of intranasal midazolam (5 mg if the patient weighed less than 50 kg and 10 mg if the patient weighed over 50 kilograms) was prescribed for those who had previously responded to other rescue medication. Midazolam was prescribed buccally if excessive head movement accompanied seizures. The protocol reverted to the usual rescue medication if there was no response to midazolam within 10 minutes. Vital signs were monitored for half an hour following the administration of the treatment. Twenty-two patients received 84 treatment episodes and 79 of these were considered clinically effective. Five treatment failures were recorded, three due to poor technique in delivering the midazolam. Two patients were successfully retried on midazolam and a third is awaiting a retrial of this drug. The two other treatment failures received the drug buccally. In the first patient the clinical opinion was that this was possibly a psychogenic non-epileptic seizure. The other patient responded initially, but within an hour had another seizure requiring further rescue treatment. No significant adverse effects were reported. Our study shows that intranasal midazolam, when used appropriately, is an effective treatment in those who require rescue treatment. There are clear advantages in the use of midazolam over diazepam in the treatment of acute seizures. These include the favourable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of midazolam as well as the potential of a more acceptable and dignified administration route.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • GABA Modulators / administration & dosage
  • GABA Modulators / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage
  • Midazolam / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged


  • GABA Modulators
  • Midazolam