How Benzodiazepines Work

Versed is a brand-name version of the benzodiazepine midazolam. Versed is usually given via intravenous or intramuscular injection prior to procedures. Versed can put a patient to sleep, reduce anxiety and can cause short-term memory loss. Unlike many benzodiazepines, Versed is often only used in clinical or hospital settings. However, in some cases, Versed may be prescribed for insomnia that is resistant to other drugs, or for severe agitation.

Versed works very quickly, especially when it’s injected. It can start working within just a few minutes, but it also has a very brief half-life. As a result, Versed wouldn’t show up in a drug test very long, and it’s eliminated from the system quickly without accumulation. Like other benzos, Versed acts on the GABA neurotransmitter to calm the person taking it and produce sedation. Benzodiazepines slow the central nervous system. Using this drug class can make people seem very intoxicated. Side effects of benzos like Versed include drowsiness, problems walking, loss of coordination, confusion, dizziness and memory loss. Benzos are short-term medications because they can be habit-forming.

Despite the fact that Versed is a fast-acting benzo with a short half-life, residual effects can be felt for a day or two after it’s used. For example, following a procedure involving Versed, a person could feel drowsy and weak for up to two days. Patients are warned against using any substance that can suppress their central nervous system for at least 24 hours after having Versed.

Versed and Central Nervous System Depressants

Central nervous system depressants are medications and substances that slow how the CNS function. The CNS controls essential things like breathing and heart rate. When someone combines multiple CNS depressants, it can increase the chances of an overdose. An overdose occurs when breathing slows down too much. This can cause brain damage, coma and death. One example of a CNS depressant is opioid pain medications. Opioids bind to specific receptors and, in doing so, depress the CNS and breathing. If someone pairs two CNS depressants, such as benzos and opioids, they are putting themselves at a significant risk of overdosing. The combination of benzos and opioids is so deadly that there are black box warnings with these medicines. Someone who misuses Versed might intentionally combine it with another CNS depressant to increase the effects, and this is a high-risk decision.

When someone is going to be taking Versed for any reason, they should let the physician know of all substances they regularly take or have taken recently. This includes not only other prescription or illicit drugs but also includes herbal medicines and supplements. For example, St. John’s Wort shouldn’t be used with Versed.

Mixing Versed and Alcohol

Alcohol has very similar effects to benzodiazepines. When someone drinks, they may feel slightly euphoric as well as relaxed and drowsy. This is because alcohol affects GABA, just as benzos do. Both Versed and alcohol also depress the CNS. As with opioids, mixing Versed and alcohol can be highly dangerous and can lead to breathing and heart rate problems. Slowed respiration can mean brain damage or death.

When someone is mixing Versed and alcohol, it can also increase the chances of certain side effects. A person may become extremely intoxicated and may be at a higher risk of hurting themselves or being in an accident. Someone who mixes Versed and alcohol may black out and be in a dangerous situation as a result. They may also be confused or incoherent. Anytime multiple substances are misused simultaneously, it also increases the risk of polydrug addiction and dependence. There is never a time that it’s a good idea to mix Versed and alcohol. From extreme intoxication to fatal overdose, the risks are significant and avoidable.

For people who struggle with addiction, we have a team of specialists who understand and can help you figure out the next best step for your or your loved one. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.