Midazolam via the intranasal route: an effective rescue medication for severe epilepsy in adults with learning disability

Seizure. 1998 Dec;7(6):509-12. doi: 10.1016/s1059-1311(98)80012-5.


People with a learning disability are often disadvantaged due to the nature of their disability. Up to a third are likely to have concomitant epilepsy which adds to the health loss experienced by this group. It is important to manage their epilepsy in such a way as to limit the debilitating effects of both the illness and the medication. Rectal diazepam remains the gold standard rescue medication for prolonged, recurrent seizures or seizures associated with hypoxia. Some of the drawbacks are highlighted in this paper and we go on to explore a novel means of treating these seizures. Midazolam, via the intranasal route, has been used extensively in children, mostly as a sedative but also in the treatment of epilepsy. We present two cases, both are adults with a learning disability, who have benefited significantly from the use of intranasal midazolam. Ongoing research into the safe use of this form of treatment, training of staff and carers and the impact on the individual is being conducted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Female
  • GABA Modulators / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / complications
  • Learning Disabilities / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • GABA Modulators
  • Midazolam