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 ?
He said: "On Thursday, October 8, 2015, without notice, Bennie terminated that management contract.
It was so much better than I ever imagined,'' said 21-year-old Bennie, who crossed in 427th out of more than 27,000 in 2:43:43.
The relationships and the story of our lives drives our music," says Bennie.
ON THE MOVE Colin Bennie, who stood down as club president on Thursday GROUNDS FOR IMPROVEMENT Colin and Chris invest
Indeed, Sheehan ends with the thought that Bennie may be smiling on what he accomplished, but one might wonder how he would reflect on our military's recent string of careless events that endanger the stewardship of US nuclear weapons--and by logical extension, the safety of the world.
CELEBRATION: Muriel and Bennie Dyson celebrate their diamond (correct) wedding
Can't see as any gun would kill a ghost," Bennie says.
Bennie emulates his brother as younger brothers tend to do but Tetro is surly, aloof and un-willing to discuss his past in America or since coming to Ar-gentina, leaving the puppy-ish Bennie to wonder what's going on as much as the audience.
So Bennie and Elita resolve to find Alfredo's grave and quite literally deliver his head to outraged El Jefe, presuming that Sappensly and Quill don't get there first.
Coun Summerfield (Con Brand wood) said: "I could not agree with Bennie Gray more when he describes the key role small businesses and entrepreneurs have to play in helping secure the health of Birmingham's economy, especially in the current climate.
Kymba Bennie, 19, a student from Middlesbrough: "Just someone who speaks clearly.
Tracey-Ann Martin, 31, was in the gallery as a jury unanimously cleared Paula Bennie, 31, of causing death by dangerous driving while unfit through drugs.