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J R Soc Med. 1982 April; 75(4): 231–233.
PMCID: PMC1437655

Saline flush: a simple method of reducing diazepam-induced thrombophlebitis.


Five hundred outpatients undergoing endoscopy were admitted into a controlled trial comparing the incidence of thrombophlebitis following intravenous diazepam administered in the way, with the effects of either a saline flush following the diazepam or diluting the drug with the patient's own blood before injection ('barbotage'). The results were assessed using a questionnaire completed by patients two weeks after endoscopy; 80% replied. A saline flush reduced the incidence of side effects, particularly pain (P less than 0.05). 'Barbotage' gave the highest incidence of side effects. Saline flush is therefore recommended as a means of reducing the thrombophlebitis which may follow intravenous diazepam.

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Selected References

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  • Driscoll EJ, Gelfman SS, Sweet JB, Butler DP, Wirdzck PR, Medlin T. Thrombophlebitis after intravenous use of anesthesia and sedation: its incidence and natural history. J Oral Surg. 1979 Nov;37(11):809–815. [PubMed]
  • Jusko WJ, Gretch M, Gassett R. Precipitation of diazepam from intravenous preparations. JAMA. 1973 Jul 9;225(2):176–176. [PubMed]
  • Langdon DE, Harlan JR, Bailey RL. Thrombophlebitis with diazepam used intravenously. JAMA. 1973 Jan 8;223(2):184–185. [PubMed]
  • Schou Olesen A, Hüttel MS. Local reactions to i.v. diazepam in three different formulations. Br J Anaesth. 1980 Jun;52(6):609–611. [PubMed]
  • von Dardel O, Mebius C, Mossberg T. Diazepam in emulsion form for intravenous usage. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1976;20(3):221–224. [PubMed]

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