Background: Nasal transmucosal midazolam is effective for premedication of pediatric patients; however, 61-74% of these patients cry at nasal drug administration. Sublingual benzodiazepines, including midazolam, are effective in adults. The current blinded randomized study compared acceptance of and behavioral responses to transmucosal midazolam administered via the intranasal and sublingual routes.
Methods: Ninety-three patients aged 0.5-10 yr were stratified by age: 30 infants and toddlers, 0.5-2 yr; 39 preschoolers, 2.1-5 yr; and 24 school age, 5.1-10 yr. They were randomized to receive 0.2 mg/kg of midazolam in the nose or under the tongue without or with additional flavoring. For the group receiving sublingual flavored midazolam, the syringe tip was dipped in candy flavor and sugar. Duration of crying and compliance with instructions for sublingual drug administration were recorded. Hemoglobin oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry and sedation score were recorded by three observers before drug administration, at 2.5-min intervals for 10 min, at separation from parents, and during induction with halothane in O2.
Results: Children accepted midazolam administered via the sublingual route better than that given intranasally. In children not crying before drug administration, the frequency and duration of crying was greater following intranasal compared with sublingual administration (71% vs. 18% (P < 0.0001) and 48 +/- 56 vs. 25 +/- 49 s (P = 0.004), respectively). Lack of total compliance with instructions for sublingual administration did not alter drug effect, and there were no differences between the three study groups in maximum sedation, response to separation from parents, and behavior at induction of anesthesia; 80% displayed adequate or excellent behavior. Finally, the addition of candy flavor did not improve acceptance of or compliance with sublingual midazolam administration.
Conclusions: Sublingual administration of midazolam is as effective as, and better accepted than, intranasal midazolam as a preanesthetic sedative in children.