The infant brain undergoes massive developmental activity and fourfold increase in bulk in the last two months of gestation and the first months after birth. This is a crucially vulnerable time for a baby.
Research showing that BDZs pass through the placenta causing effects such as "floppy infant syndrome" with respiratory depression, hypothermia, feeding difficulties, abnormal heart rate, abnormal EEG and withdrawal syndrome, has been reported since the early seventies.
Paediatricians, from Sweden and England voiced their concern
in letters to the Lancet in 1977[3,4]
Some newborn babies cannot adequately metabolize BDZs which then accumulate and remain active in the baby's system. Symptoms ranging from: "mild sedation, hypotonia, reluctance to suck, to apnoeic spells, cyanosis and impaired metabolic responses to cold stress" have been reported "for periods from hours to months after birth."
It has been observed that both the symptoms of withdrawal from BDZs and the symptoms caused by the 'active drug'('floppy infant syndrome') can be protracted for anything up to 1 year in some babies.  in the
The high risk to the neonate from apnoeic spells (possibly leading to SIDS) and the accumulation of BDZs in infants unable to metabolise them, together with the danger of impaired mental development was stated. [ Rowlatt 1978]
Warnings of the above have been available from the manufacturers for over ten years and newborn babies so affected may need treatment in special care baby units.
Flumazenil, a BDZ antagonist which reverses the effects of BDZs (licenced for use in surgical procedures and overdose), has been used in emergencies at birth, (not under licence) successfully reversing most of the above adverse effects in neonates .(6,7,8,9.)BACK TO TOP
* NB: The owner of this site wishes to make clear that a significant proportion of people who take benzodiazepines (both babies and adults) do not suffer the adverse consequences featured here. The concern of Benzact is the significant proportion of those who are adversely affected by benzodiazepines.
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