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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;69(6):607-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2010.03611.x.

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nasally delivered midazolam.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



To investigate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nasal formulations containing midazolam (5-30 mg ml(-1)) complexed with cyclodextrin.


An open-label sequential trial was conducted in eight healthy subjects receiving single doses of 1 mg and 3 mg intranasally and 1 mg midazolam intravenously. Pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained by non-compartmental and two-compartmental models. Pharmacodynamic effects of midazolam were assessed using VAS and a reaction time test.


Mean bioavailability of midazolam after nasal administration ranged from 76 +/- 12% to 92 +/- 15%. With formulations delivering 1 mg midazolam, mean C(max) values between 28.1 +/- 9.1 and 30.1 +/- 6.6 ng ml(-1) were reached after 9.4 +/- 3.2-11.3 +/- 4.4 min. With formulations delivering 3 mg midazolam, mean C(max) values were between 68.9 +/- 19.8 and 80.6 +/- 15.2 ng ml(-1) after 7.2 +/- 0.7-13.0 +/- 4.3 min. Chitosan significantly increased C(max) and reduced t(max) of midazolam in the high-dose formulation. Mean ratios of dose-adjusted AUC after intranasal and intravenous application for 1'-hydroxymidazolam were between 0.97 +/- 0.15 and 1.06 +/- 0.24, excluding relevant gastrointestinal absorption of intranasal midazolam. The pharmacodynamic effects after the low-dose nasal formulations were comparable with those after 1 mg intravenous midazolam. The maximum increase in reaction time by the chitosan-containing formulation delivering 3 mg midazolam was greater compared with 1 mg midazolam i.v. (95 +/- 78 ms and 19 +/- 22 ms, mean difference 75.5 ms, 95% CI 15.5, 135.5, P < 0.01). Intranasal midazolam was well tolerated but caused reversible irritation of the nasal mucosa.


Effective midazolam serum concentrations were reached within less than 10 min after nasal application of a highly concentrated midazolam formulation containing an equimolar amount of the solubilizer RMbetaCD combined with the absorption enhancer chitosan.

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