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 ?
"They wouldn't prescribe him further Benzodiazepines because, I believe, NHS policy is that they won't give Valium because they have concerns over their addictive qualities.
Many people in CBT are also treating their anxiety with SSRis or benzodiazepines --an approach known as combination therapy.
Benzodiazepines H: waking up on sedatives: providing optimal care when inheriting benzodiazepine prescriptions in transfer patients.
Benzodiazepines are a class of medications used to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.
"Although long-term benzodiazepine use among patients with COPD and PTSD is not linked with overall mortality, the association with suicide is concerning," Donovan said in a statement.
Josie Smith, programme and national lead for substance misuse in Public Health Wales, said: "This is a very concerning trend, not only due to the dose variation in the substances, with therapeutic doses ranging from 0.25mg to 20mg depending on the benzodiazepine, but also due to the substance half-life, which affects how long the drug takes to 'act'.
NEW ORLEANS -- A reasonable stepwise approach to pharmacotherapy for agitation in outpatient dementia begins with a judiciously chosen SSRI as first-line therapy with the second-line consisting of augmentation with a benzodiazepine, M.
The use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines is very frequent in persons with Alzheimer's disease, but it carries a risk for severe adverse effects, and long-term treatment is generally not recommended.
"Reports also suggest counterfeit benzodiazepines are circulating.
Benzodiazepines. Hepatotoxicity of psychotropic drugs and drugs of abuse.
Analysis showed that benzodiazepines were present in the deaths of 426 drug victims - up from 191 in 2015, marking a huge 123 per cent rise.