The effects of intravenous aminophylline on level of consciousness in acute intentional benzodiazepines poisoning in comparison to flumazenil

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Acute intentional benzodiazepine poisoning is marked by a significant loss of consciousness, aspiration pneumonia, and increased rates of mortality and morbidity, especially in older patients with underlying heart or lung disease. These patients may need flumazenil to reverse the respiratory effects of benzodiazepines. The positive effects of aminophylline on respiration and neonatal apnea improvement have been shown previously. However, its possible effects on increasing the level of consciousness have never been evaluated.


In a placebo-controlled study, we assessed the effectiveness of aminophylline on increasing the level of consciousness.


Time to full awakening was significantly shorter in those who received aminophylline (72 min vs. 881 min, p = 0.001), compared to those who received a placebo.


When “flumazenil” is contraindicated or unavailable, intravenous aminophylline can be used as a second choice.

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