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Pharmacotherapy. 2004 Sep;24(9):1177-85.

Paradoxical reactions to benzodiazepines: literature review and treatment options.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7230, USA.


Benzodiazepines frequently are administered to patients to induce sedation. Paradoxical reactions to benzodiazepines, characterized by increased talkativeness, emotional release, excitement, and excessive movement, are relatively uncommon and occur in less than 1% of patients. The exact mechanism of paradoxical reactions remains unclear. Most cases are idiosyncratic; however, some evidence suggests that these reactions may occur secondary to a genetic link, history of alcohol abuse, or psychological disturbances. This review evaluates the numerous cases of paradoxical reactions to benzodiazepines in adult and pediatric patients that have been reported in the biomedical literature. It also explores the advantages and disadvantages of the various available treatment options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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