Benzodiazepine (BZD) overdose (OD) continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality in the UK. Flumazenil is an effective antidote but there is a risk of seizures, particularly in those who have co-ingested tricyclic antidepressants. (PMID: 21785147) Flumazenil is a benzodiazepine antagonist. It is widely used as an antidote in comatose patients suspected of having ingested a benzodiazepine overdose. (PMID: 19500521)
Flumazenil should be used in all patients presenting with suspected benzodiazepine overdose. Flumazenil is a potent benzodiazepine receptor antagonist that competitively blocks the central effects of benzodiazepines and reverses behavioral, neurologic, and electrophysiologic effects of benzodiazepine overdose. Clinical efficacy and safety of flumazenil in treatment of benzodiazepine overdose has been confirmed in a number of rigorous clinical trials. In addition, flumazenil is also useful to reverse benzodiazepine induced sedation and to diagnose benzodiazepine overdose.