All You Need To Know About Benzodiazepines

All You Need To Know About Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines have been the talk of the town for decades now, and why wouldn’t it be? It one of the favorites among medical experts, patients and rocking the market since the 1960s. Learn more about benzodiazepines in detail from the information mentioned below.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a group of psychoactive medicines commonly known as ‘benzos’. These are the most widely prescribed medications and used to treat anxiety disorders, sleep deprivation, seizures and muscle spasms.

Benzodiazepines are categorized into short acting, intermediate acting and long acting. The short- and intermediate-acting benzodiazepines are recommended to treat insomnia and longer-acting benzodiazepines are used in the treatment of anxiety.

Around 30 different ‘benzos’ are marketed under several brand names. Following are some benzodiazepines with the generic and their brand names.

Generic Brand

Diazepam Valium, Antenex
Nitrazepam Mogadon, Alodorm
Lorazepam Ativan
Clonazepam Rivotril
Alprazolam Xanax

The benzodiazepines are highly effective but are recommended for short-term use because of high dependency, withdrawal effects, adverse effects and potential for tolerance.

Where are Benzodiazepines used?

Benzodiazepines are used to treat psychological and neurological disorders as it directly affects the neurons, which are responsible for inducing anxiety and stress. Listed below are the disorders.

Insomnia

Panic disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Seizures

Alcohol withdrawal

Muscle spasms

What is the mechanism of action of Benzodiazepines?

The actual mechanism of action or how benzodiazepines work is not known. However, the recent studies have shown that they work by acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain or you may say on the chemicals in the brain those are used to communicate by the nerves. Out of these chemicals, benzodiazepine binds to the receptor Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and boosts its effect on the brain inducing the calming effect.

What are the side effects of Benzodiazepines?

Side effects are the unwanted responses that occur when a recommended dose is taken. However, each individual responds to the medication differently and not everyone experiences same side effects or any. Mentioned below are some of the common and adverse side effects of benzodiazepines.

Common Side Effects

Dizziness

Drowsiness

Constipation

Nausea

Dry mouth

Confusion

A headache

Severe Side Effects (Please, rush to your medical expert if you experience any of the side effects listed below)

Rashes

Blurred vision

Loss of memory

Depression

Trembling

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Benzodiazepines?

An individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when the intake of medication is stopped abruptly, which lasts for days or weeks depending upon the type of benzodiazepine (long or short). If you face some serious withdrawal symptoms, then you must consult a medical expert. Listed below are some symptoms.

Vomiting

Panic attacks

Muscle pain

Sleep deprivation

Tremors

Hallucinations

Epileptic fits

Confusion

What are the precautions you must take with Benzodiazepines?

As per the studies, it is suggested that lactating women must avoid the use of benzodiazepines as they enter the breast milk and can be responsible for weight loss of a newborn.

Benzodiazepines cause harm to the fetus and a pregnant woman must not use it.

Do not administer benzodiazepines at higher doses and for a prolonged period than recommended as it is potentially habit-forming.

If you are taking benzodiazepines, then you should not stop its usage abruptly as it may cause some serious withdrawal effects.

Benzodiazepines in a nut-shell

At one fell swoop, benzodiazepines are highly effective in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizures, alcohol withdrawal and muscle spasm. These are safe when administered in prescribed dosages for short period, however, misuse of these can cause death.

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