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Sedation, Versed, and Your Procedure


When Talking to your Doctor About your Procedure:

In preparation for any procedure, you and your doctor should discuss your concerns around modesty, the selection of an anesthesiologist, and the drugs that might be administered to you before, during and after surgery. Your expectations should be clear in your own mind before you begin that conversation. Further, if you want to be sure your wishes are followed; you must write them on any consent form you sign.

Remember that healthcare is a business and like any business they are motivated by efficiency and a belief that they are professionals who know what is best for the patient. Because of this, your doctor will assume that you will allow yourself to be treated in the way he or she sees fit and will only answer the questions you raise - you will not be told any “unpleasant” details unless you specifically ask. This means you need to educate yourself so you ask the questions that matter to you and you clearly state in writing what you want.

There will be many drugs administered to you before, during and after your procedure. Some are related to the prevention of infection, others to relieve pain, and others to “sedate” or “relax” you. You should be familiar with all the drugs your doctor(s) plan to administer to you, what they are intended to do, and what their side effects are. It is also important to know that in healthcare “awake” means something very different than what it means to the layperson.

Below you will find information about Midazolam, most commonly known as Versed, but also marketed as Dormicum and Hypnovel. These drugs are commonly used in medical procedures and patients are rarely warned about how the drug will affect them.


What is Versed and What Does it Do to the Patient?

Versed is the most commonly used drug in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs depress the central nervous system (CNS). Your doctor may refer to diazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, hyponovel, dormicum, or others as they describe sedation or sedation management. This class of drugs is designed to provide for sedation, hypnosis-like compliance, relieve anxiety, muscle relaxation, and anticonvulsant activity. The “side effect” that medical professionals most like about these drugs is that they generally induce anterograde amnesia (prevent memory by blocking the acquisition and encoding of new information). In other words, medical professionals like these drugs because most people will not remember what happens to them while under their effect even though they are “awake.”

In medical terms, this is called conscious sedation. While under the influence of these drugs, patients feel drowsy or may sleep, they will be free of anxiety, and will therefore be very compliant with medical professionals (they will not advocate for themselves), and they will mostly likely not remember anything about what happened. It is these last two consequences that most appeal to the healthcare industry.If you’re given Versed prior to being brought into the Operating Room, you will likely not remember who is in the room, being placed on the OR table or being prepared for anesthesia. Further, once surgery is over, you will likely be give a few more doses of Versed, again that means you will likely not remember being in the PACU.

Versed is commonly used for minor procedures such as setting broken bones, colonoscopies, endoscopies, some dental procedures, and some surgical prepping procedures. Versed may also be used after surgery for sedation, or to help keep the patient calm while on the ventilator. Versed may also be used in combination with pain medications or other types of sedation.

Versed has caused very serious breathing problems, especially if used with other medications that cause drowsiness (e.g., narcotic pain medications such as morphine) in some cases. Keep this in mind: Versed or similar sedative drug legally invalidates any patient testimony regarding their treatment.

Concerns About Versed And How to Refuse Versed:

Beware when a nurse or doctor tells you that he/she will give you something to relax you before surgery.
It is very likely that the medication is Versed or another drug in this class. Doctors, anesthesiologist or nurses often administer these drugs without telling the patient what they are doing, warning the patient that once the drug is administered they will no longer be able to participate in healthcare decisions or remember what happens after getting the drug. Patients are generally only told they are being given “something to relax you” and often they are told this as the drug is being administered.

Versed is not required for surgery. Medical professionals use it for convenience. Once the patient is sedated, patients do not protest or complain about pain or modesty. Some medical professionals give Versed to patients who are outspoken about their wishes during procedures, particularly if they express concerns about modesty or wanting a same gender medical team.

Though the FDA has approved Versed as an anti-anxiety drug, side effects can be physically, cognitively and emotionally traumatic for patients. Your doctor will likely not tell you about these. Some of potential side effects of Versed according to Versed Busters are:

* Paradoxical reactions including anxiety, delirium and aggression. This includes patients attacking or trying to leave. They lose touch with reality, not knowing where they are or what is really occurring.

* Some patients experienced a distorted, nightmarish version of their procedure accompanied by feelings of abandonment and panic.

* A kind of sleep paralysis - patient is aware but cannot move and cannot communicate.

* Amnesia did not take place for some patients. Some patients only have a partial memory loss and they can recall a bad experience!

* Some patients report a "creepy obedience" overcoming them.

* Many patients report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after having this drug.

* Panic or anxiety episodes ("flashbacks") for some time (weeks, months, years) post-op.

* Long term memory disruption. Memories formed prior to the use of Versed are lost. Some people are unable to retain new information or complete tasks.

* Slower recovery time.

Note that many medical professional refuse Versed or similar drugs for their own procedures because they see firsthand the consequences of conscious sedation.

Also note that Versed is also known as a date-rape drug. Versed is perfect for predators because it make the recipient completely compliant and generally induces memory loss of traumatic events. For example, a male nurse gave some women Versed and then raped them. Check out this case for more information. Any patient who is given Versed is in a vulnerable position to be sexually abused in medical settings. A patient who is sexually abused while under influence of Versed will rarely remember what happened. Keep in mind that a medical professional will rarely testify against another medical professional or even tell you if anything inappropriate happened. Check out Do Chaperones Really Protect Patients? If you were under the influence of Versed and you were sexually abused, it would be a difficult case because a defense lawyer will argue that Versed has an amnesiac effect and that you could not remember what really happened.

Other accounts of people’s experiences with Versed:

Additional Articles about Versed:

Consider Carefully

Consider the information above and any other information you have found about this class of drugs before you talk to your doctor or anesthesiologist. We recommend you not consent to Versed or any similar drug and that you are clear about your wishes on any document you sign. Our recommendation is based on two things: 1) once this drug is administered you are no longer able to advocate for yourself or remember how you are being treated. This is true even though you will be told that you will be “awake.” 2) There are alternatives to this class of drugs that allow you to remain more involved in your treatment and most importantly recall what happened (see below.) Regardless of your choice of sedation, know that once you have been given Versed you are unable to give legal consent. So if you have written on your consent forms your expectations for treatment, your doctor cannot argue that you gave “consent” while under Versed.

Other Options to Consider

Options for managing pain in procedures such as colonoscopies for patients who want to be awake are:

1.) Fentanyl, (a pain medication) and Demerol (also a pain medication) this combination has been used in cases for pain control but where the patient will remain aware and be able to view the colonoscopy monitor and/or converse with the doctor during the procedure.

2.) Fentanyl and Valium – A combination of Fentanyl and Valium during the procedure often allows the patient to converse with the physician during the exam. One patient shared that experience with having Fentanyl and Valium used during his procedure allowed him to converse with the doctor after the exam and could remember the conversation. He recovered quickly and was able to leave the hospital much sooner than those given other types of sedation. He was also not groggy during the day and even went dancing later that night!

In conclusion, there is no valid reason to ever purposely induce amnesia during a medical procedure. The induction of amnesia is never medically necessary. Medical professionals administer it to make their job easier by making the patient more compliant and not be able to recall the events of the procedure. We need to spread awareness to as many people as possible about Versed and encourage them to take precautions to ensure that they are never given Versed or similar drugs.

You should write on your consent form ALL your expectations. Specifically, if you do not want Versed write, “I DO NOT consent for use of Versed, Midazolam, or any benzodiazepines in any AMOUNT or at ANYTIME EVER” Then sign your name. This also needs to be stated to your anesthesiologist and written on documents he or she brings. Make sure you sign the consent forms and share your wishes before they hook you to IV.

You also could type a document that says something like:

I DO NOT consent for use of Versed, Midazolam, or any benzodiazepines in any AMOUNT or at ANYTIME EVER.

I now boldly state amnesia must not happen anytime during this treatment (include name of surgery or procedure) under any circumstances.

Then sign your name. Make multiple copies of the form and give a copy to every medical professional that is involved in your care.


Versed –

Use of Sedative Medications in the Intensive Care Unit

Versed Oral

What Is Versed?

Versed Busters

Colonoscopy without sedation: Patient factors alone are less likely to influence its uptake

No Midazolam (Versed) Blog


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