The effect of flumazenil, a benzodiazepine antagonist, on hepatic encephalopathy was studied in rabbits with acute hepatic failure induced by a two-stage liver devascularization procedure. The rabbits were randomized for treatment with 5 mg/kg of flumazenil or the placebo. The drug was administered at two easily recognizable time points in the course of the encephalopathy: first, when the righting reflex was disturbed, and second, when the animal could no longer achieve to the sitting position. The response after flumazenil did not differ from that after the placebo, as measured by clinical evaluation and automated EEG analysis. Furthermore, the progression of the encephalopathy, as measured by the survival time after the first injection, was not affected by flumazenil.

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Metabolic Brain Disease
Department of Surgery

van der Rijt, C., de Knegt, R., Schalm, S., Terpstra, O., & Mechelse, K. (1990). Flumazenil does not improve hepatic encephalopathy associated with acute ischemic liver failure in the rabbit. Metabolic Brain Disease, 5(3), 131–141. doi:10.1007/BF00999840