Target-controlled Infusion of Remimazolam in Healthy Volunteers Shows Some Acute Tolerance

Remco Vellinga, Jeroen V Koomen, Douglas J Eleveld, Thomas Stöhr, Marija Pesic, Michel M R F Struys, Pieter J Colin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Remimazolam exhibits sedative properties by binding to γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors. Remimazolam is administered as a bolus dose or continuous infusion, but has not been studied using target-controlled infusion (TCI). The study quantified the relationship between the remimazolam concentration, Modified Observer's Assessment of Alertness and Sedation (MOAAS) score, and bispectral index (BIS) using TCI.

METHODS: The authors performed a three-period, crossover, dose-ranging clinical trial in 24 healthy volunteers using age and sex stratification. Data collected in the first period, where remimazolam was administered alone using a step-up and step-down TCI protocol, were used for this analysis. Remimazolam concentrations, MOAAS scores, and BIS values were collected at each step at steady state. Data were analyzed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling methodology.

RESULTS: The relationship between remimazolam, BIS, and MOAAS differed between step-up and step-down infusions at similar remimazolam target concentrations. Tolerance, driven by remimazolam or CNS7054, significantly improved overall model fit (P < 0.01) for both BIS and MOAAS models. After 30 min of repeated bolus dosing, mimicking the regimen in the label for procedural sedation, the BIS and probability of MOAAS 2/3 were predicted to be 54 (95% prediction interval, 44 to 67) and 2% (95% prediction interval, 0 to 32%) versus 58 (95% prediction interval, 48 to 70) and 8% (95% prediction interval, 0 to 36%) in a model without and with tolerance, respectively. After 60 min of continuous infusion, mimicking the regimen in the label for general anesthesia, the BIS and probability of MOAAS 0 were predicted to be 40 (95% prediction interval, 33 to 50) and 87% (95% prediction interval, 18 to 100%) versus 50 (95% prediction interval, 41 to 60) and 59% (95% prediction interval, 6 to 99%) in a model without and with tolerance, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, it was shown that remimazolam-induced sedation is prone to tolerance development, which is potentially mediated by the CNS7054 concentration. The clinical consequences are, however, limited in situations where remimazolam is titrated to effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1-Feb-2024


  • Humans
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Benzodiazepines/pharmacology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives/pharmacology
  • Infusions, Intravenous


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