(redirected from Benzo)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms.


benzodiazepine (bĕnˌzōdīăzˈəpēnˌ), 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 barbiturates 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 drug.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


A group of tranquilizers that are used to combat anxiety and convulsions.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
In treating patients with chronic opioid and benzo dependencies in an inpatient setting, initiate stabilization of the opioids by using medication in a controlled fashion to stabilize the patient's physiology.
In 2008-09, the Redcar and Cleveland police authority area had the highest rate of benzo seizures of 40 force areas in the UK, accounting for one in six of all tablets seized in England and Wales.
To establish PAH toxicity, benzo (a) pyrene (Bap) is usually used as reference because of its high toxicity (Culp et al, 1988).
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.
Started in 1984, it treats 'benzo' addicts, educates doctors, advises the Government and recently has an offshoot in Wales.
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.