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Benzodiazepine Overdose


Benzodiazepines are medicines used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia, muscle spasms, and seizures. Some examples include alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, and temazepam. An overdose can occur if you take more than the recommended amount. It can also occur if you take benzodiazepines with alcohol or certain medicines that can cause harm if taken together.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


Flumazenil helps to reverse some of the effects of benzodiazepines.


  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check the level of benzodiazepines or other substances in your body.
  • Pulse oximetry measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood. Pulse oximetry is done using a small instrument placed on your finger.
  • An arterial blood gas (ABG) test measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. An ABG test also measures the pH of your blood and the amount of bicarbonate in it.


  • Oxygen may help you breathe easier if your oxygen level is lower than normal. It may be given through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. You may need a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own.
  • Counseling on how to take benzodiazepines safely will be given. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you see a counselor if you are abusing benzodiazepines.


A benzodiazepine overdose may cause you to stop breathing or not breathe well on your own. You may need an endotracheal tube and a ventilator to help you breathe. A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. A benzodiazepine overdose may cause your blood pressure to drop too low. A severe overdose may cause you to go into a coma.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.