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 ?
Bennie raised his price to a dime, but he reverted back to a larger mold and increased the size of his tamales.
This was the fourth marathon for Bennie, who basically has followed the leader in his older brother Graham, yet is finding a way to set his own pace.
Bennie in high school managing a band and loving music; bandmate Rhea loves Bennie; Bennie loves Alice.
Because Bennie is shorthaired and smaller, I doubt if he is trying to cool himself, but if he lies in his holes, that heat may be the reason.
The band was founded in 1995 by tuba player Bennie, trombone player Jerome 'Bay Bay' Jones and Harry 'Swamp Thang' Cook on bass drum.
ON THE MOVE Colin Bennie, who stood down as club president on Thursday GROUNDS FOR IMPROVEMENT Colin and Chris invest
In 1952, when the United States successfully tested the world's first thermonuclear device, Schriever saw his future venture revealed; Sheehan expertly chronicles the resulting paths Bennie traveled to fulfill Arnold's quest.
This is not to say that Bennie is not a central character.
Upon meeting Angelo, Bennie constantly informs Angelo how much he has picked up from him--his sense of wanderlust, taste in movies, aspirations for writing--which worries Angelo.
CELEBRATION: Muriel and Bennie Dyson celebrate their diamond (correct) wedding
Can't see as any gun would kill a ghost," Bennie says.
Tetro" tells the story of Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich), an 18-year-old Italian-American from New York who, having taken a job as a waiter aboard a cruise ship, lands in Buenos Aires hoping to reunite with his older brother Angelo (Vincent Gallo).