Benzodiazepine Drug Information
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.
- 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 benzodiazepines, and how do they work?
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. All benzodiazepines affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter chemical that nerves use to communicate with one another. Since scientists believe that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may be the cause of anxiety and other psychological disorders, and GABA reduces the activity of nerves in the brain, benzodiazepines may be working by increasing the effects of GABA in the brain and spinal cord.
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,
- nausea and vomiting,
- depression, and
- panic attacks.
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