Diazepam in severe tetanus treatment

Ismoedijanto, M. Nassiruddin, B. Wahyu Prajitno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The causes of death in tetanus are muscle spasms and spasm of the larynx, which are caused by blocking the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters in the spinal synapses, causing the uncontrolled spread of impulses. Diazepam controls the spasms by blocking the polysynaptic reflexes, working peripherally, without depressing the cortical center and has no cardiovascular or endocrine effects. High dose diazepam had been used and proved to be a good muscle relaxant. Diazepam seems to work better with tetanus than pancuronium bromide, but both drugs need mechanical ventilation. In cases where the dose exceeds 240 mg per day in a child, a ventilator should be on hand, and if the dose required is more than 480 mg per day, other drugs should be considered. In three cases of severe tetanus presented here, the first two were managed by diazepam and pancuronium bromide and the last case by high dose diazepam only. In the first case, the dose of diazepam was up to 480 mg/day. By using high dose diazepam in severe tetanus, management of the clinical manifestations of autonomic nerve involvement and the weaning process become easier. Most complications of severe tetanus became more manageable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
JournalSoutheast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


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