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J Emerg Med. 2012 Oct;43(4):677-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.01.059. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

A poison center's ten-year experience with flumazenil administration to acutely poisoned adults.

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Division of Medical Toxicology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92103, USA.



The frequency of seizures among acutely poisoned adults who are administered flumazenil has not been well established.


The objectives of the study were: to determine the frequency of seizures among acutely poisoned adults administered flumazenil; to identify factors associated with seizures; and to determine the mental status of subjects before and after administration of flumazenil.


This study was a historical case series of acutely poisoned adults reported to a poison control system from 1999 to 2008. Included cases were those involving administration of flumazenil to subjects who were ≥ 18 years of age. Both genders were included. Variables collected included: presence of seizure or death, exposure to a pro-convulsant drug, and mental status before and after flumazenil administration.


Over the 10-year period studied, 904 cases were identified that met inclusion criteria. Thirteen subjects (1.4%) developed seizures after flumazenil was administered. One death occurred. There were 293 subjects exposed to a pro-convulsant drug, and 8 of these had seizures after flumazenil administration. Development of seizures after flumazenil administration was significantly associated with exposure to a pro-convulsant drug (odds ratio 3.41; 95% confidence interval 1.13-10.72). Mental status before and after flumazenil administration was available for 546 subjects (60.3%). Of these, 291 (53.3%) became awake after administration of flumazenil.


Flumazenil administration to acutely poisoned adults resulted in a low frequency of seizures and death. Development of seizures was associated with exposure to a pro-convulsant drug. More than half of the subjects for whom mental status was recorded became awake after receiving flumazenil.

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