Midazolam: pharmacology and uses

Anesthesiology. 1985 Mar;62(3):310-24.


Midazolam is an imidazobenzodiazepine with unique properties when compared with other benzodiazepines. It is water soluble in its acid formulation but is highly lipid soluble in vivo. Midazolam also has a relatively rapid onset of action and high metabolic clearance when compared with other benzodiazepines. The drug produces reliable hypnosis, amnesia, and antianxiety effects when administered orally, intramuscularly, or intravenously. There are many uses for midazolam in the perioperative period including premedication, anesthesia induction and maintenance, and sedation for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Midazolam is preferable to diazepam in many clinical situations because of its rapid, nonpainful induction and lack of venous irritation. Compared with thiopental, midazolam is not as rapid acting nor predictable in hypnotic effect. It will not replace thiopental as an induction agent. Advantages of midazolam over thiopental are those of the more versatile pharmacologic properties of a benzodiazepine compared with a barbiturate such as amnestic and anxiolytic properties. Midazolam should be a useful addition to the formulary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Anesthetics*
  • Animals
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepines / metabolism
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology*
  • Benzodiazepinones / pharmacology
  • Biotransformation
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Female
  • Flumazenil
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives*
  • Hypoxia, Brain / prevention & control
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Midazolam
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Preanesthetic Medication*
  • Respiration / drug effects
  • Sex Factors
  • Thrombophlebitis / chemically induced


  • Anesthetics
  • Benzodiazepinones
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Flumazenil
  • Midazolam