Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In this Article
- What are benzodiazepines, and how do they work?
- For what conditions are benzodiazepines used?
- Are there differences between benzodiazepines?
- What are the side effects of benzodiazepines?
- With which drugs do benzodiazepines interact?
- What are some examples of benzodiazepines?
- What are the dangers of benzodiazepine addiction?
- What are the dangers of benzodiazepine withdrawal?
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.
Although most benzodiazepines are used interchangeably, some are most commonly used for certain conditions.
- Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), chlorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and midazolam are used for anxiety disorders.
- Clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), lorazepam (Ativan), clobazam (Onfi), and diazepam (Valium) are used for seizure disorders.
- Estazolam (Prosom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion) are used for insomnia or trouble sleeping.
- Midazolam (Versed), lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium) are used in anesthesia.
- Diazepam (Valium) also is used for muscle relaxation.
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is used for alcohol withdrawal.
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