What Are Benzodiazepines?

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. One of these neurotransmitters is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that suppresses the activity of nerves. Scientists believe that excessive activity of nerves may be the cause of anxiety and other psychological disorders, and benzodiazepines reduce the activity of nerves in the brain and spinal cord by enhancing the effects of GABA.

Examples of Benzodiazepines

  • Xanax (Alprazolam) – used to treat anxiety and panic disorder
  • Valium (Diazepam) – used to treat anxiety and panic disorder, seizures, and muscle spasms
  • Klonopin (Clonazepam) – used to prevent seizures
  • Ambien (Zolpidem)
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Mogadon (Nitraaepam)
  • Restoril (Temazepam)
  • Rivotril (Clonazepam)
  • Approx (Alprazolam)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), chlorazepate (Tranxene) and midazolam are used for anxiety disorders.
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene), Clobazam (Onfi) are used for seizure disorders.
  • Estazolam (Prosom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), and triazolam (Halcion) are used for insomnia or trouble sleeping.
  • Midazolam (Versed) used in anesthesia.
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is used for alcohol withdrawal.
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