Midazolam and diazepam for pediatric seizures in the prehospital setting

Craig R. Warden, Carrie Frederick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and adverse events associated with the use of diazepam and midazolam for the treatment of pediatric seizures in the prehospital setting. Methods. This was a retrospective cohort study of all patients younger than 18 years treated for a seizure with a benzodiazepine by emergency medical services in Multnomah County, Oregon, from 1998 to 2001. The emergency medical services system consists of a single private advanced life support transporting ambulance service with fire department first responders that are all advanced life support capable. The benzodiazepine used changed from diazepam to midazolam at the midpoint of this period. The primary outcomes were termination of the seizure by arrival to the emergency department (ED), recurrence of seizure while in the ED, or the requirement for active airway interventions including intubation. The two cohorts were also compared for demographics, past history of seizures, long-term use of seizure medications, response times, route of administration, use of second doses of benzodiazepines, and final disposition. Results. Forty-five patients were treated with diazepam, and 48 were treated with midazolam. The two cohorts were comparable except the diazepam cohort had a significantly increased proportion of patients with previous afebrile seizures (53% vs. 25%; p = 0.005). The midazolam cohort had an increased use of nonintravenous route for initial dosing (65% vs. 42%; p = 0.02). The two cohorts were equivalent in rates of termination of seizures before to ED arrival, recurrence of seizures in the ED, requiring airway support or a second dose of benzodiazepine, and admission to the hospital. Conclusions. Diazepam and midazolam appear to be equivalent in treating seizures and causing adverse events. Paramedics appear to be administering midazolam intramuscularly more often than they use diazepam rectally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-467
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Diazepam
  • Midazolam
  • Pediatric
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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