Long-Term Management of Generalised Anxiety Disorder with Low-Dose Continuous Infusions of Flumazenil: A Case Series

Alexander Gallo, Stephen Addis, Vlad Martyn, Hishani Ramanathan, Grace Wilkerson, Sean Hood, Hans Stampfer, Gary Hulse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder associated with social and occupational impairment. Recently, a theory was postulated that dysfunctional gamma aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABAA) are implicated in anxiety symptomology, which could be corrected by flumazenil, an antagonist at the benzodiazepine binding site on the GABAA receptor. Method: Participants had a primary diagnosis of GAD and were treated initially with an eight-day continuous low-dose flumazenil infusion (total 32 mg at a rate of 4 mg/24 h). Some participants were re-treated with a further four- or eight-day infusion. Treatment response was measured as a 50% reduction in anxiety or stress scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale—21 (DASS-21). Remission was measured as scores ≤3 or ≤7 on the anxiety and stress subscales of the DASS-21, respectively. Results: Eight cases are reported. All cases met the criteria for treatment response on the anxiety and stress subscale of the DASS-21. Remission was achieved in seven participants on the anxiety subscale and in five on the stress subscale. No changes in hepatic, renal, or haematological function were likely attributed to flumazenil. Conclusion: Data suggest that low-dose continuous flumazenil infusion manages GAD symptoms and is safe. Although these results are promising, future randomised control trials are required to confirm these results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number430
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022


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