Alcohol after midazolam sedation: does it really matter?

Anesth Analg. 1991 May;72(5):661-6. doi: 10.1213/00000539-199105000-00016.


Patients who arrive home several hours after ambulatory surgery may drink alcohol. The extent to which the residual effects of drugs used in ambulatory surgery interact with alcohol, perhaps potentiating alcohol effects, is not known. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to determine whether intravenous midazolam had residual effects that would interact with alcohol consumed 4 h after the midazolam injection. Healthy male volunteers (n = 16) participated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Subjects were studied four times successively with 1 wk between trials. On each test day the subjects randomly received by slow intravenous injection (30 s) either saline or 0.1 mg/kg of midazolam. Four hours after injection, the subjects consumed a beverage that either did or did not contain 0.7 g/kg of alcohol. Before and 1, 3, 5, and 7 h after injection (and before and 1 and 3 h after beverage consumption), psychomotor performance and mood were assessed. Whereas both midazolam and alcohol alone had effects on the dependent measures in this study, there were no significant interactions between the two drugs (i.e., potentiation of alcohol effects by midazolam or potentiation of midazolam by alcohol). We conclude that the effects of a short-acting benzodiazepine used in ambulatory surgery have probably dissipated by the time a patient arrives home, and that effects from alcohol ingested at home will probably not be influenced by the recent administration of a short-acting benzodiazepine such as midazolam.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Midazolam / pharmacology*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Ethanol
  • Midazolam