Medical Terminology


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Flumazenil is a GABA receptor antagonist that is FDA-approved in the U.S. as an intravenous (IV) medication to reverse excessive or prolonged sedation suspected to be caused by benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Ambien, etc.). It is not FDA-approved for the treatment of IH or any other central disorder of hypersomnolence. However, as with any medication approved by the FDA, physicians can choose to prescribe flumazenil “off-label” for indications other than that for which it is approved. This includes the use of flumazenil for the treatment of IH and related sleep disorders. Because flumazenil is currently approved in liquid form for IV use, it must be formulated into a transdermal cream or lozenge (for topical or mucosal absorption, respectively) by a compounding pharmacy for use by people with IH and related disorders. Read more about flumazenil on HF’s Treatment web page HERE; also, see HF’s FAQs about Flumazenil Access.