Midazolam in patients receiving anticancer chemotherapy and antiemetics

Lisa M. Potanovich, Katherine M.W. Pisters, Mark G. Kris, Leslie B. Tyson, Rebecca A. Clark, Lorraine Baltzer, Richard J. Gralla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Benzodiazepines lessen anxiety and improve comfort in cancer patients. Midazolam is an effective benzodiazepine with a rapid onset and short duration of action, properties that could permit its use in outpatient areas or in short but stressful situations. Two consecutive trials were undertaken to study midazolam as an adjunct in patients receiving anticancer chemotherapy. Each studied midazolam given as a short infusion 30 min prior to chemotherapy at dose levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.05 mg/kg. Trial I determined the safety, sedation, and dose of midazolam in patients receiving chemotherapy of low to moderate emetic potential. Twenty-two patients were entered. No significant respiratory depression or oxygen desaturation was observed. At the optimal dose level (0.04 mg/kg), sedation began a median of 3 min following administration and continued for a median of 38 min. Sixty-four percent of patients experienced mild sedation. Trial II studied the same doses of midazolam when used in combination with intravenous metoclopramide and dexamethasone in patients receiving cisplatin≥100 mg/m2. Nineteen patients were entered; 79% experienced mild sedation. At the 0.04-mg/kg dose level, sedation began a median of 18 min following administration and continued for a median of 170 min. Midazolam can be given safely to patients receiving chemotherapy with and without concomitant antiemetics. The predictability and duration of its sedative effects suggest it can be used in outpatients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-524
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1993


  • Midazolam
  • antiemetic
  • anxiety
  • emesis
  • nausea
  • supportive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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