benzodiazepine

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benzodiazepine

(bĕn'zōdīăz`əpēn'), any of a class of drugs prescribed for their tranquilizing, antianxiety, sedative, and muscle-relaxing effects. Benzodiazepines are also prescribed for epilepsy and alcohol withdrawal. Introduced in the early 1960s with chlordiazepoxide (Librium), benzodiazepines were heralded as a safer alternative to barbituratesbarbiturate
, any one of a group of drugs that act as depressants on the central nervous system. High doses depress both nerve and muscle activity and inhibit oxygen consumption in the tissues. In low doses barbiturates act as sedatives, i.e.
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 and meprobamate because they were relatively non–habit forming and were less lethal in overdose.

There has been considerable debate over their side effects, addictiveness, and abuse, beginning with negative media attention given to diazepam (Valium) in the late 1960s and continuing with debate over triazolam (Halcion), which culminated in its withdrawal from the market in Britain and several other countries. All benzodiazepines appear to have amnesic side effects. Triazolam has been associated with depression, increased daytime anxiety in poor sleepers, and some cases of psychosis. Physical dependence on benzodiazepines is seen predominantly in patients who have taken the medications over long periods. Upon withdrawal the original symptoms often recur, and patients may experience anxiety, insomnia, perceptual changes, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms can be lessened by slowly tapering off the dose.

Abuse of benzodiazepines occurs most often in young white males who also abuse other substances. In this group benzodiazepines, especially diazepam and alprazolam (Xanax), are used, sometimes nasally, to ameliorate the unwanted effects of street drugs, such as cocaine. Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), a prescription benzodiazepine sedative not approved in the United States, is increasingly being abused by teen-agers in some areas of the country. While many doctors feel benzodiazepines are safe and effective, especially for short-term relief of anxiety and insomnia, others feel that they mask underlying problems and invite dependence. There are 12 benzodiazepines now on the market, including clonazepam (Clonopin) and temazepam (Restoril).

See also antianxiety drugantianxiety drug,
drug administered for the relief of anxiety. Although their action is not fully understood, most antianxiety medications appear to affect the action of neurotransmitters in the brain (see serotonin and norepinephrine).
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.

benzodiazepine

[‚ben·zō‚dī′az·ə‚pēn]
(medicine)
A group of tranquilizers that are used to combat anxiety and convulsions.
References in periodicals archive ?
Benzo at IGT said some of the firm's customers, particularly those that are corporate conglomerates, are able to transfer funds to the company through accounts in Europe that don't pass through an American correspondent.
Measurement of benzo (a) pyrene in the ambient air for the estimation of carcinogenic risk.
La concentracion del compuesto Benzo (a) Pireno presento una relacion altamente significativa e inversa al crecimiento en terminos de altura de las plantulas de R.
When dealing with prolonged withdrawal syndrome, there is limited evidence in terms of the chronic neuroplastic changes that occur with benzo dependency regarding recovery of receptors and biochemistry homeostasis.
The benzo diazepam - once called valium - is the most commonly prescribed controlled drug in Britain.
A Compassion of the Tumurs induced by Coaltar and Benzo (a) pyrene in a 2-year Bioassay, Carcinogenesis: 19, pp.
1 July 2010 - Indian credit rating agency CRISIL changed yesterday to "positive" from "stable" the outlook while keeping the rating at BBB+ on the long-term bank facilities of local chemical company Benzo Chem Industries Pvt Ltd.
Benzo (A) Pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found in Dwr Cymru water at a property near Merthyr Tydfil.
BEIRUT: Spanish Ambassador Miguel Benzo Perea said on Wednesday that his country would offer $1 million to support cluster-bomb clearance operations in the South.
Benzo won the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle, Coddington was victorious in the 200 and 500 freestyle events, and Hanson captured the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Drugs such as "meow meow" and Benzo Fury have been outlawed by the Government but other substances, such as alpha-methyltryptamine, are still legal and new drugs flood the market quicker than they can be BANNED.
She told a drugs workshop in Edinburgh she believed youngsters were seduced by trendy brand names such as Annihilation and Benzo Fury.