Wisconsin Anesthesia Professionals

Hemodynamic Effects of Remimazolam vs. Midazolam

Remimazolam and midazolam are both benzodiazepines widely used for sedation in a variety of medical procedures. However, remimazolam and midazolam have significantly different pharmacokinetic profiles that impact their safety, efficacy and, in particular, hemodynamic stability.

Midazolam, a well-established sedative, is metabolized by the liver enzyme CYP3A4. This pathway can lead to variable patient responses due to genetic differences or interactions with other drugs that inhibit or induce CYP3A4. Such variability may lead to prolonged sedation or adverse effects like respiratory depression and hypotension, which are of particular concern in populations with impaired liver function or those on complex medication regimens (1). On the other hand, remimazolam is rapidly degraded by tissue esterases. This metabolism results in a shorter half-life and more predictable clearance from the body, which significantly reduces the risk of prolonged sedation. The more predictable pharmacokinetics of remimazolam make it an attractive option for procedures requiring short-term sedation where rapid recovery and patient turnover are critical (1).

Clinical trials and studies comparing the two sedatives highlight the advantages of remimazolam. For example, a 2012 study by Antonik et al. showed that remimazolam had less hemodynamic impacts—impacts on blood pressure and heart rate—during sedation, compared to midazolam. This property is particularly valuable when sedating elderly patients or those with cardiovascular issues, where hemodynamic fluctuations can lead to significant complications (1). Additionally, research by Pastis et al. (2019) involving patients undergoing bronchoscopies demonstrated that remimazolam not only provided effective sedation, but also had a lower incidence of respiratory depression compared to midazolam. This study is important because it highlights the utility of remimazolam in maintaining adequate respiratory function during sedation (2).

Moreover, a randomized trial by Qiu et al. (2022) compared remimazolam with propofol in endoscopic submucosal dissection, a procedure that requires careful control of sedation levels. Propofol is widely used for sedation, both alone and in combination with other drugs. The study found that remimazolam was superior in maintaining hemodynamic stability, further highlighting its benefits (3).

In addition, the rapid clearance of remimazolam not only allows for faster recovery times, but also minimizes postoperative delirium, allowing patients to return to baseline function more quickly than those sedated with midazolam. This is critical in the outpatient setting where patients are expected to resume normal activities shortly after surgery (1).

In conclusion, while both remimazolam and midazolam are effective benzodiazepines, remimazolam’s rapid metabolism, lesser hemodynamic impact and shorter recovery time offer clear clinical advantages. These properties make remimazolam a preferred choice in many healthcare settings, promoting safer sedation practices, improving patient turnover and potentially reducing healthcare costs associated with extended postoperative care and monitoring.


  1. Antonik LJ, Goldwater DR, Kilpatrick GJ, Tilbrook GS, Borkett KM. A placebo- and midazolam-controlled phase I single ascending-dose study evaluating the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of remimazolam (CNS 7056): Part I. Safety, efficacy, and basic pharmacokinetics. Anesth Analg. 2012;115(2):274-283. doi:10.1213/ANE.0b013e31823f0c28
  2. Pastis NJ, Yarmus LB, Schippers F, et al. Safety and Efficacy of Remimazolam Compared With Placebo and Midazolam for Moderate Sedation During Bronchoscopy. Chest. 2019;155(1):137-146. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2018.09.015
  3. Qiu Y, Gu W, Zhao M, Zhang Y, Wu J. The hemodynamic stability of remimazolam compared with propofol in patients undergoing endoscopic submucosal dissection: A randomized trial. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022;9:938940. Published 2022 Aug 8. doi:10.3389/fmed.2022.938940