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Benzodiazepines are a group of psychoactive anxiolytic drugs used commonly in canine medicine.

These drug acts via micromolar benzodiazepine binding sites as calcium- and potassium channel blockers and significantly inhibit depolarization-sensitive calcium uptake in nerve cells within the brain and other organs such as smooth muscles within the respiratory tract.

The clinical results of these effects include sedation, anxiolysis and bronchodilation[1].

They are regularly used for treatment of seizures and as a intravenous drug for induction of general anesthesia or as a premedicant/sedative.

Drugs in this group include:

The effects of these drugs can be countered by the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil[2].


  1. Yamakage M et al (1999) Inhibitory effects of diazepam and midazolam on Ca2+ and K+ channels in canine tracheal smooth muscle cells. Anesthesiology 90(1):197-207
  2. Heniff MS et al (1997) Comparison of routes of flumazenil administration to reverse midazolam-induced respiratory depression in a canine model. Acad Emerg Med 4(12):1115-1118