Bretazenil, a benzodiazepine receptor partial agonist, as an adjunct in the prophylactic treatment of OP poisoning.

Z. Tashma, L. Raveh, H. Liani, D. Alkalay, S. Givoni, J. Kapon, G. Cohen, M. Alcalay, E. Grauer

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Benzodiazepines, mainly diazepam, are commonly used as anticonvulsants in the treatment of organophosphate casualties. Although very effective, diazepam usually is not used in prophylactic treatments because of its adverse effects on task performance and its abuse liability. Benzodiazepine (BZ) partial agonists are unique in that they are able to occupy all the population of a given receptor without eliciting the maximal physiological response. The BZ receptor agonistic occupancy was found to differ among the various physiological responses in the following order: antipanic > anticonvulsion > sedation > muscle relaxation. Thus, partial agonists, by the use of which controlled levels of agonistic activity can be achieved, might serve as effective anticonvulsants, with fewer side-effects. Bretazenil, a partial agonist, was found to counteract metrazol-induced convulsions in rats. At the anticonvulsive doses (125-250 microg x kg(-1), i.p.) bretazenil, in combination with pyridostigmine (100 microg x kg(-1), i.m.) and aprophen (4 mg x kg(-1), i.m.), conferred prophylactic protection against sarin and soman poisoning (protective ratios 2.6 and 2.1, respectively). Relevant doses of bretazenil (50-400 microg x kg(-1), i.p.) also were tested for general behavioural effects in the open field and for its anti-anxiety properties in the plus maze. The incapacitation was much lower compared with diazepam. Bretazenil should be considered as a candidate for incorporating into a prophylactic mixture as a central nervous system protectant, with significant advantages concerning incapacitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S115-S119
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Volume21 Suppl 1
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


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