Buccal midazolam or rectal diazepam for treatment of residential adult patients with serial seizures or status epilepticus

Acta Neurol Scand. 2011 Aug;124(2):99-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2010.01474.x. Epub 2011 Jan 6.


Objectives: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of buccal midazolam with rectal diazepam as emergency treatment in residential adults with convulsive or non-convulsive serial seizures or status epilepticus (SE), and ascertain the preference between the two treatment options among the patients and the nursing staff.

Materials and methods: The nursing staff of our residential epilepsy centre treated 80 episodes of serial seizures or SE lasting more than 5 min alternating with rectal diazepam or buccal midazolam. The dose of each study drug was tailored individually. The primary outcome measure was defined as cessation of seizure activity within 10 min without seizure relapse within 2 h.

Results: Convulsive SE was treated promptly, after a mean of 6.2 min, and terminated faster with buccal midazolam than with rectal diazepam; i.e. after a mean of 2.8 vs 5.0 min, respectively (n = 0.012). The other subcategories of emergency situations were treated after a mean of 25.0 min, and the seizure activity ceased after a mean of 7.4 min in the diazepam group and 7.6 min in the midazolam group (NS). The success rate was 83.3% in the diazepam group and 74.4% in the midazolam group (NS). The difference was mostly due to slightly more seizure relapses during the first 2 h in the midazolam group. Both treatment options were well tolerated, temporary tiredness being the most frequently occurring adverse effect. All the nursing staff and six of the seven patients who gained experience with both treatment options favoured the buccal route.

Conclusions: Buccal midazolam appeared to be at least as effective as rectal diazepam with little or no side effects. The buccal administration was easy to handle and socially more acceptable than the rectal route.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Buccal
  • Administration, Rectal
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residential Treatment / methods
  • Seizures / drug therapy*
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Diazepam
  • Midazolam