Synonyms Ro 16-0154
CAS Number 127985-21-1 YesY
127396-36-5 (123I)
PubChem (CID) 65959
ChemSpider 59362
Template:UNII (123I) Template:UNII (123I)
Chemical and physical data
Formula C15H14123IN3O3
Molar mass 407.290 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image

Iomazenil (also known as Ro16-0154, INN, USAN; benzodine) is an antagonist and partial inverse agonist of benzodiazepine and a potential treatment for alcohol abuse. The compound was introduced in 1989 by pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche as an Iodine-123-labelled SPECT tracer for imaging benzodiazepine receptors (GABAA receptors) in the brain. Iomazenil is an analogue of flumazenil (Ro15-1788).[1]

Use in brain research

123I-labelled iomazenil can be used to image epileptic seizure foci as an alternative to 18F-fludeoxyglucose PET imaging.[2][3]

The effect of iomazenil of reducing levels of GABA in the brain was used by researchers to exacerbate symptoms in patients with schizophrenia in a laboratory study, supporting the theory that a GABA deficiency underlies that disease.[4]

Alcohol treatment

Researcher Deepak D'Souza and colleagues at Yale University and Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System are testing iomazenil as a potential treatment for drunkenness due to its ability to bind alcohol receptors in the brain.[5]


  1. Höll, K; Deisenhammer E; Dauth J; Carmann H; Schubiger PA (1989). "Imaging benzodiazepine receptors in the human brain by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)". Int J Rad Appl Instrum B. 16 (8): 759–63.
  2. Kung, Hank F.; Mei-Ping Kung; Seok Rye Choi (January 2003). "Radiopharmaceuticals for single-photon emission computed tomography brain imaging". Seminars in Nuclear Medicine. 33 (1): 2–13. doi:10.1053/snuc.2003.127296. PMID 12605353.
  3. Goethals, I; Van de Wiele C; Boon P; Dierckx R (February 2003). "Is central benzodiazepine receptor imaging useful for the identification of epileptogenic foci in localization-related epilepsies?". Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 30 (2): 325–8.
  4. Ahn, Kyungheup; Gil R; Seibyl J; Sewell RA; D'Souza DC (February 2011). "Probing GABA receptor function in schizophrenia with iomazenil". Neuropsychopharmacology. Nature Publishing Group. 36 (3): 677–83. doi:10.1038/npp.2010.198. PMC 3055690Freely accessible. PMID 21068719.
  5. Dobson, Roger; Jonathan Owen (13 May 2012). "Tests begin on new drink-busting drug". Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
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