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Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Midazolam: the sedative drug
Injection
Midazolam can be injected
Midazolam is a sedative drug commonly used in medicine, but which can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Midazolam is a benzodiazepine which is used as a sedative and to treat people who have gone into convulsions.

The drug can induce amnesia, and is often given to patients prior to having tubes inserted so that they are semi-conscious during what can be a traumatic procedure.

The drug works by slowing down both the heart rate and rate of breathing.

In very high does it can stimulate a heart attack, and stop the lungs from working.

Midazolam can lead to the patient experiencing daydreams with a sexual content.

It may also stimulate vertigo, dizziness, headaches, and, in rare circumstances, hallucinations.

The drug can also cause visual disturbances and nausea.

If administered repeatedly it can become addictive, and if then stopped abruptly it lead to symptoms of withdrawal.

People who take midazolam are recommended not to drive or to operate a machine for 24 hours after administration.

The drug is not recommended for pregnant women, or those who are breastfeeding.

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