Lack of adverse effects from flumazenil administration: an ED observational study☆,☆☆,★

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Background:Flumazenil is an effective benzodiazepine (BZD) antagonist. Empiric use of flumazenil in the emergency department (ED) is not widely recommended due to concerns of seizures, which are commonly associated with coingestants and BZD withdrawal.Objective:The objective of the study is to assess adverse events and clinical outcomes of flumazenil administration in known and suspected BZD overdose in an ED at a tertiary academic medical center.Methods:This is a retrospective observational study of adult patients administered flumazenil for known or suspected BZD overdose in the ED over 7 years. Outcomes included mental status improvement, the incidence of seizures, and intubation of the trachea after flumazenil administration.Results:Twenty-three patients were included in the analysis, of which 15 (65%) of patients experienced some type of clinically significant mental status improvement. No seizures were identified despite 7 (35%) reported proconvulsant coingestants. One patient required intubation of the trachea but was subsequently extubated in the ED.Conclusions:A majority of patients had improved mental status after the administration of flumazenil. No patient experienced seizures. Additional studies that clarify the role of flumazenil for ED patients with suspected BZD toxicity are warranted.

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