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Midazolam is a medication commonly administered prior to medical procedures. Doctors provide the drug to counteract the nervousness or anxiety that patients, especially children, feel prior to surgery or before undergoing the anesthesia required for surgery. It functions by reducing brain activity to relieve apprehension, induce drowsiness, and cause amnesia so patients will have no memory of possibly traumatic medical experiences. Doctors sometimes also use it as a seizure treatment.
Midazolam is a benzodiazepine, a class of drug that primarily affects brain function. The drug is fast-acting and has a high potency level. Unlike several other benzodiazepines, the effects of the drug do not last for an extended period of time, and many people characterize it as a short-acting medication.
The drug exists in a variety of forms for medical applications. As the only water-soluble benzodiazepine, midazolam is available in a liquid form. The possibility of oral ingestion makes it a popular choice for pediatricians, who may offer young patients the drug in syrup form. Patients may also inject the medication into veins or directly into the muscle or spinal cord. Additionally, pharmaceutical manufacturers produce pills, tablets, and nasal spray, increasing the drug’s range of uses.
There is a wide range of side effects that may accompany the use of this medication. Overuse may cause the body to develop a high tolerance for the drug, reducing its effectiveness. Dependency also may occur following prolonged usage. Other side effects include an assortment of negative mental and neurological ramifications, such as general confusion, amnesia, uncharacteristic behavior, and loss of coordination. Some patients have suffered from permanent memory loss associated with continual use of the drug over an extended period of time.
Midazolam naturally contains a low level of toxicity, but an overdose is still possible. Toxicity may increase when used in conjunction with other substances that depress the central nervous system. If a healthy person overdoses, it is usually treatable, but the risk of complications increases if the patient suffers from other health problems. Although rare, death may result from an overdose, especially if the patient is elderly.
Medical professionals frequently prescribe the medication to children, and parents may wish to take special precautions. Increased observation of the young person may be necessary to avoid any unwanted complications. The person who administers the midazolam certainly should ask if a child has any pre-existing medical conditions or uses other types of medications. Parents should tell their child’s pediatrician if any irregular symptoms occur.