This review paper discusses the central role of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in diverse physiological
systems and functions and the therapeutic potential of the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil (Ro 15-
1788) for a wide range of disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Our group and others have studied the potential
of flumazenil as a treatment for benzodiazepine dependence. A small but growing body of research has indicated
that flumazenil may also have clinical application in CNS disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, idiopathic
hypersomnia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Despite this body of research the therapeutic potential of flumazenil
remains poorly understood and largely unrealized.
The purpose of this paper is not to provide an exhaustive review of all possible therapeutic applications for flumazenil
but rather to stimulate research interest, and discussion of the exciting therapeutic potential of this drug for a
range of chronic debilitating conditions.
Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, benzodiazepine, central nervous system, flumazenil, GABA, idiopathic hypersomnia, Parkinson’s
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