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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Serious respiratory adverse events have occurred after administration of oral midazolam, most often when midazolam was used in combination with other central nervous system depressants. These adverse events have included respiratory depression, airway obstruction, oxygen desaturation, apnea, and rarely, respiratory and/or cardiac arrest (see box WARNING). When oral midazolam is administered as the sole agent at recommended doses respiratory depression, airway obstruction, oxygen desaturation, and apnea occur infrequently (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Prior to the administration of midazolam in any dose, the immediate availability of oxygen, resuscitative drugs, age-and size-appropriate equipment for bag/valve/mask ventilation and intubation, and skilled personnel for the maintenance of a patent airway and support of ventilation should be ensured. Midazolam HCl syrup must never be used without individualization of dosage, particularly when used with other medications capable of producing central nervous system depression.

Midazolam HCl syrup should be used only in hospital or ambulatory care settings, including physicians' and dentists' offices, that are equipped to provide continuous monitoring of respiratory and cardiac function. Midazolam HCl syrup must only be administered to patients if they will be monitored by direct visual observation by a health care professional. If midazolam HCl syrup will be administered in combination with other anesthetic drugs or drugs which depress the central nervous system, patients must be monitored by persons specifically trained in the use of these drugs and, in particular, in the management of respiratory effects of these drugs, including respiratory and cardiac resuscitation of patients in the age group being treated.

For deeply sedated patients, a dedicated individual whose sole responsibility is to observe the patient, other than the practitioner performing the procedure, should monitor the patient throughout the procedure.

Patients should be continuously monitored for early signs of hypoventilation, airway obstruction, or apnea with means for detection readily available (eg, pulse oximetry). Hypoventilation, airway obstruction, and apnea can lead to hypoxia and/or cardiac arrest unless effective countermeasures are taken immediately.

The immediate availability of specific reversal agents (flumazenil) is highly recommended. Vital signs should continue to be monitored during the recovery period. Because midazolam can depress respiration (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY), especially when used concomitantly with opioid agonists and other sedatives (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION), it should be used for sedation/anxiolysis/amnesia only in the presence of personnel skilled in early detection of hypoventilation, maintaining a patent airway, and supporting ventilation.

Episodes of oxygen desaturation, respiratory depression, apnea, and airway obstruction have been occasionally reported following premedication (sedation prior to induction of anesthesia) with oral midazolam; such events are markedly increased when oral midazolam is combined with other central nervous system depressing agents and in patients with abnormal airway anatomy, patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease, or patients with sepsis or severe pulmonary disease.

Reactions such as agitation, involuntary movements (including tonic/clonic movements and muscle tremor), hyperactivity and combativeness have been reported in both adult and pediatric patients. Consideration should be given to the possibility of paradoxical reaction. Should such reactions occur, the response to each dose of midazolam and all other drugs, including local anesthetics, should be evaluated before proceeding. Reversal of such responses with flumazenil has been reported in pediatric and adult patients.

Concomitant use of barbiturates, alcohol or other central nervous system depressants may increase the risk of hypoventilation, airway obstruction, desaturation, or apnea and may contribute to profound and/or prolonged drug effect. Narcotic premedication also depresses the ventilatory response to carbon dioxide stimulation.

Coadministration of oral midazolam in patients who are taking ketoconazole, intraconazole and saquinavir has been shown to result in large increases in Cmax and AUC of midazolam due to decrease in plasma clearance of midazolam (see PHARMACOKINETICS: Drug-Drug Interactions and PRECAUTIONS). Due to potential for intense and prolonged sedation and respiratory depression, midazolam syrup should only be coadministered with these medications if absolutely necessary and with appropriate equipment and personnel available to respond to respiratory insufficiency.

Higher risk pediatric surgical patients may require lower doses, whether or not concomitant sedating medications have been administered. Pediatric patients with cardiac or respiratory compromise may be unusually sensitive to the respiratory depressant effect of midazolam. Pediatric patients undergoing procedures involving the upper airway such as upper endoscopy or dental care, are particularly vulnerable to episodes of desaturation and hypoventilation due to partial airway obstruction. Patients with chronic renal failure and patients with congestive heart failure eliminate Midazolam more slowly (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

The decision as to when patients who have received midazolam HCl syrup, particularly on an outpatient basis, may again engage in activities requiring complete mental alertness, operate hazardous machinery or drive a motor vehicle must be individualized. Gross tests of recovery from the effects of midazolam HCl syrup (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY) cannot be relied upon to predict reaction time under stress. It is recommended that no patient operate hazardous machinery or a motor vehicle until the effects of the drug, such as drowsiness, have subsided or until one full day after anesthesia and surgery, whichever is longer. Particular care should be taken to assure safe ambulation.

Usage in Pregnancy

Although midazolam HCl syrup has not been studied in pregnant patients, an increased risk of congenital malformations associated with the use of benzodiazepine drugs (diazepam and chlordiazepoxide) have been suggested in several studies. If this drug is used during pregnancy, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Usage in Preterm Infants and Neonates

Midazolam HCl syrup has not been studied in patients less than 6 months of age.

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

There are currently no FDA safety alerts available for this drug.

Manufacturer Warnings

There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.

FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


Midazolam HCl syrup is indicated for use in pediatric patients for sedation, anxiolysis and amnesia prior to diagnostic, therapeutic or endoscopic procedures or before induction of anesthesia.

Midazolam HCl syrup is intended for use in monitored settings only and not for chronic or home use (see WARNINGS).


Midazolam is associated with a high incidence of partial or complete impairment of recall for the next several hours (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Midazolam is a benzodiazepine available as midazolam HCl syrup for oral administration. Midazolam, a white to light yellow crystalline compound, is insoluble in water, but can be solubilized in aqueous solutions by formation of the hydrochloride salt in situ under acidic conditions. Chemically, midazolam HCl is 8-chloro-6-(2-fluorophenyl)-1-methyl-4H-imidazo[1,5-a][1,4] benzodiazepine hydrochloride. Midazolam hydrochloride has the molecular formula C18H13CIFN3•HCl, a calculated molecular weight of 362.25 and the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure

Each mL of the syrup contains midazolam hydrochloride equivalent to 2 mg midazolam compounded with artificial bitterness modifier, citric acid anhydrous, D&C Red #33, edetate disodium, glycerin, mixed fruit flavor, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sorbitol, and water; the pH is adjusted to 2.8 - 3.6 with hydrochloric acid.

Under the acidic conditions required to solubilize midazolam in the syrup, midazolam is present as an equilibrium mixture (shown below) of the closed ring form shown above and an open-ring structure formed by the acid-catalyzed ring opening of the 4,5-double bond of the diazepine ring. The amount of open-ring form is dependent upon the pH of the solution. At the specified pH of the syrup, the solution may contain up to about 40% of the open-ring compound. At the physiologic conditions under which the product is absorbed (pH of 5 to 8) into the systemic circulation, any open-ring form present reverts to the physiologically active, lipophilic, closed-ring form (midazolam) and is absorbed as such.

Chemical Structure

The following chart plots the percentage of midazolam present as the open-ring form as a function of pH in aqueous solutions. As indicated in the graph, the amount of open-ring compound present in solution is sensitive to changes in pH over the pH range specified for the product: 2.8 to 3.6. Above pH 5, at least 99% of the mixture is present in the closed-ring form.


Nauzene Manufacturers

  • Alva-amco Pharmacal Companies, Inc.
    Nauzene (Sodium Citrate) Tablet, Chewable [Alva-amco Pharmacal Companies, Inc.]

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