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Versed is a sedative, anxiety, and anesthesia medication that is used before or during surgeries and medical procedures. This prescription medication works to reduce anxiety, cause sleepiness, relax the muscles, and impair short-term memory by enhancing the effects of a certain brain chemical. Versed comes in the form of an injection or a syrup and is very fast acting. Side effects can include breathing problems, tenderness at the injection site, and nausea.

What Is Versed?

Versed® (midazolam) is a prescription medication approved for use as a sedative, anxiety, or anesthesia medication used before or during surgeries, medical procedures, or dental procedures. It is also used to sedate people on respirators in intensive care units.
(Click Versed Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Versed?

Brand-name Versed was made by Hoffmann-La Roche, but it is no longer manufactured. Fortunately, there are several companies that make generic Versed.

How Does It Work?

Versed is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines have several effects on the body, including:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Causing sleepiness
  • Relaxing the muscles
  • Stopping seizures
  • Impairing short-term memory.
All benzodiazepines can have these effects to some degree, depending on the specific benzodiazepine that is being taken. They work in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that is naturally calming. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why Versed and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).
Because Versed is very fast acting, it is particularly useful for anesthesia. It can help start the anesthesia process (called anesthesia induction), relieving anxiety and causing memory loss (amnesia). In fact, many people who use Versed for "conscious sedation" during a procedure are awake for the entire procedure but remember nothing, often believing they were "out" the whole time.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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