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Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions. The exact mechanism of action of benzodiazepines is not known, but they appear to work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, chemicals that nerves release in order to communicate with other nearby nerves. Buy pain relief medication
For what conditions are benzodiazepines used?
Benzodiazepines are used for treating:
They also are used for:
- general anesthesia,
- sedation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures,
- muscle relaxation,
- alcohol withdrawal and drug-associated agitation,
- nausea and vomiting,
- depression, and
- panic attacks.
Are there differences between benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines differ in how quickly they start working, how long they continue to work, and for what they are most commonly prescribed.
- Diazepam (Valium) and clorazepate (Tranxene) have fast onsets of action and usually start working within 30 to 60 minutes.
- Oxazepam (Serax) has a slow onset, and lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin) have intermediate onsets of action.
- Clorazepate (Tranxene), midazolam (Versed), and triazolam (Halcion) are short-acting agents with durations of action of 3 to 8 hours.
- Alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), estazolam (Prosom), and temazepam (Restoril) are intermediate-acting agents with durations of action of 11 to 20 hours.
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), and quazepam are long-acting agents with duration of action of 1 to 3 days.
The most common side effects associated with benzodiazepines are:
Other side effects include:
- transient drowsiness commonly experienced during the first few days of treatment,
- a feeling of depression,
- loss of orientation,
- sleep disturbance,
- excitement, and
- memory impairment.
All benzodiazepines can cause physical dependence. Suddenly stopping therapy after a few months of daily therapy may be associated with withdrawal symptoms which include a feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and insomnia. If benzodiazepines are taken continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and sweating. In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, the dose of benzodiazepines should be tapered slowly.
What are some examples of benzodiazepines?
Approved benzodiazepines in the United States include: alprazolam (Xanax)
What are the dangers of benzodiazepine addiction?
Two serious concerns of benzodiazepine therapy are the potential for abuse (overdose) and the development of physical dependence (addiction).
Although intentional abuse of prescription benzodiazepines is relatively uncommon in the general population, it should be used more cautiously in individuals with a history of drug abuse as they are at the greatest risk for seeking benzodiazepines to experience a “high.”
- Benzodiazepines are rarely the sole drug of abuse, and abusers usually combine benzodiazepines with other drugs to increase the effect. For example, benzodiazepines are combined with certain opioids, a class of strong prescription pain relievers, to enhance the euphoric effects.
- Among abusers, diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are most popular due to their rapid onset.
- For most patients, the use of a benzodiazepine for a period of several months does not seem to cause issues of addiction, tolerance, or difficulties in stopping the medication when it is no longer needed.
- However, several months of use significantly increases the risk for addiction, tolerance, and appearance of withdrawal symptoms with dose reduction or termination of therapy.
Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. It is also used to relieve muscle spasms and to provide sedation before medical procedures. This medication works by calming the brain and nerves. Diazepam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.
How to use Valium
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are using the concentrated solution, use the medicine dropper provided and mix the measured dose with a small amount of liquid or soft food (such as applesauce, pudding). Take all of the mixture right away. Do not store the mixture for later use.
There are several side effects of using Valium. If you have severe problems, seek professional help immediately. The usual side effects are:
- Blurred vision
- Muscle weakness
- Yellowing of eyes
- Shallow breathing
- Trouble speaking