April 29, 2016
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Sleep Disorder Medications (cont.)

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Medical Editor:

What are some examples of hypnotic medications?

1. Nonbarbiturates


Benzodiazepines have a variety of uses, which include inducing sedation and sleep, relieving anxiety, agitation, and muscle spasms, and prevention of seizures. In general, they help in increasing total sleep time. With benzodiazepines, there may be issues of dependence, toxicity and abuse.

Examples of benzodiazepines:


This is a newer class of drugs that is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. They cause the onset of sleep to occur faster and allow for a longer period of sleep throughout the night. Non-benzodiazepines have a short half-life and have less chance of causing dependency, tolerance, and impairment of daytime activities due to carry-over effects.

Examples of non-benzodiazepines:

  • Imidazopyridines: Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo (zolpidem) (class of its own)
  • Sonata (pyrazolopyrimidine) (class of its own)
  • melatonin receptor stimulator: Rozerem (ramelteon)
  • Notec (chloral hydrate)
  • Precedex (dexmedetomidine hydrochloride)
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)

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