Imidazenil is an anxiolytic drug which is derived from the benzodiazepine family, and is most closely related to other imidazobenzodiazepines such as midazolam, flumazenil and bretazenil. Imidazenil is a GABAA partial agonist[1] with an unusual profile of effects, producing some of the effects associated with normal benzodiazepines such as anticonvulsant and anxiolytic effects, yet without any notable sedative[2] or amnestic[3] effects. In fact, imidazenil blocks the sedative effects of diazepam, yet without lowering the convulsion threshold,[4] and so potentially could be a more flexible antidote than the antagonist flumazenil which is commonly used to treat benzodiazepine overdose at present. This unusual profile of effects makes imidazenil potentially a very useful drug. In animal studies it has been shown to be an effective anxiolytic and strong anticonvulsant, yet without many of the side effects associated with other benzodiazepines; it does not produce tolerance[5] or dependence,[6] reverses the amnestic effects of conventional benzodiazepines, and does not potentiate the effects of alcohol.[7][8] Imdazenil has not yet been developed commercially for use in humans, however it has been suggested as a safe and effective treatment for anxiety,[9] a potent yet non-sedating anticonvulsant which might be particularly useful in the treatment of poisoning with organophosphate nerve agents,[10][11] and as a novel treatment for schizophrenia.[12]

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