Kids Health Info

Midazolam for procedures

  • Midazolam is a benzodiazepine medication. Benzodiazepine medications have calming effects. This drug is commonly given to adults and children who get anxious or distressed during medical procedures or before surgery. Midazolam has been safely used for sedation in hospitals for many years.

    How is midazolam given?

    Your child may be given midazolam as a drink, as a squirt up the nose or as an injection into an intravenous drip (IV). Staff caring for your child will talk with you about which method will be best.  

    Before having midazolam it is important that your child has had nothing to eat or drink for:

    • two hours if they are having it as a drink or squirt up the nose
    • six hours if they are having it as an injection.

    This helps reduce the chance of your child having a large vomit while they are sedated, and then possibly breathing the vomit into their lungs.

    What does midazolam do?

    • Your child should become drowsy and relaxed anywhere between five to 30 minutes after they have been given the midazolam.
    • A doctor or nurse will monitor your child's breathing and oxygen levels using an oxygen measuring peg on a finger or toe.
    • Some children may become hyperactive instead of relaxed after they have the midazolam. If this happens to a child, a different drug may be needed or the procedure will need to be cancelled and rescheduled.
    • Serious long term side effects from midazolam are very rare.
    • If you have any questions or concerns always ask your child's doctor or nurse.

    What happens after the procedure is finished?

    Sometimes, the procedure is finished before your child is fully awake. A doctor or nurse will closely monitor your child until they are alert. It is normal for children to be a bit grizzly or confused after having this medicine. 

    Care afterwards and at home

    • Once your child is fully awake, they can have a drink or eat a light meal.   
    • Children's balance and coordination can be affected for up to eight hours after they have had midazolam.  Supervise your child during this time especially when they are doing activities such as going to the toilet, playing, physical activities and bathing.

     Discharge home

    • Children must be accompanied home by a responsible adult. 
    • If your child falls asleep in the car seat, check to see they do not have any difficulty breathing. NEVER leave your child alone in the car.
    • Avoid playing sports, driving and the playground for the rest of the day.

    Key points to remember

    • Midazolam calms adults and children who may get anxious or distressed during a medical procedure. It has been used safely in hospitals for many years.
    • The effects go away quickly and long term effects are very rare.
    • Please make sure you talk about any concerns and ask any questions about midazolam before you give consent.
    • Make sure you understand why your child is having midazolam and the possible risks involved.
    • Feel free to ask questions at any time.

    For more information

    After you have gone home, if your child:

    • vomits more than twice
    • behaves in a strange or unusual way
    • if you have any other questions or are concerned for any reason

    then please call:

    The Royal Children's Hospital Emergency Department
    T: (03) 9345 6153

    The content for this fact sheet has been developed by the Department of Medical Imaging and Comfort Kids program. First published in August 2007. Updated November 2010.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.