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Sedatives, Prescription Drugs, Medications

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Miscellaneous Sedatives and Hypnotics,"Some drugs used to treat sleep disorders are difficult to group together with other drugs based on their mechanism of action because the exact mechanism may be unknown or no other medication works exactly in the same manner. These drugs are thus listed as miscellaneous sedatives and hypnotics. The three drugs in this class are believed to possess a similar mechanism of action."
Burstyn, Lance
521 Alton Rd #208, Miami Beach, FL 33140, US,10621,54-22,00.html


sedative,"any of a variety of drugs that relieve anxiety. Most sedatives act as mild depressants of the nervous system, lessening general nervous activity or reducing the irritability or activity of a specific organ. Sedatives taken in small quantities are useful in relieving coughing, nausea, or convulsions and in lessening anxiety. In increasing doses sedatives act as hypnotics (see hypnotic drugs ), i.e., they induce sleep, and as anesthetics. Many sedatives, including barbiturates , meprobamate (Miltown), and benzodiazepines (Librium and Valium), are habit-forming and should be taken only under medical direction. Chloral hydrate, ethyl alcohol, bromide salts, and antihistamines can all be used as sedatives. Tranquilizers are compounds that calm without excessively reducing mental alertness."


Symptoms and Complications, Antianxiety Drugs and Sedatives, Merck Manual, 2nd edition:"Antianxiety drugs and sedatives decrease alertness and can result in slurred speech, poor coordination, confusion, and slowed breathing. These drugs may make a person alternately depressed and anxious. Some people experience memory loss, faulty judgment, a shortened attention span, and frightening shifts in their emotions. Older people may appear demented, speaking slowly and have difficulty in thinking and in understanding others. Falls may occur that result in broken bones, especially hip fractures."


Sedative Hypnotics, What are sedative-hypnotics? Missouri Department Of Mental Health:"Sedative-hypnotics are drugs which depress or slow down the body's functions. Often these drugs are referred to as tranquilizers and sleeping pills or sometimes just as sedatives. Their effects range from calming down anxious people to promoting sleep. Both tranquilizers and sleeping pills can have either effect, depending on how much is taken. At high doses or when they are abused, many of these drugs can even cause unconsciousness and death."
Missouri Department Of Mental Health
Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
1706 East Elm; P.O. Box 687
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102


Neuropharmacology of sedatives and anxiolytics by Schallek W, Schlosser W:"Sedative drugs are intended to cause various degrees of drowsiness. Animal experiments indicate that barbiturates induce these effects primarily by depression of the reticular activating system in the rostral brainstem. This in turn potentiates the thalamic recruiting system, thereby inducing 'barbiturate bursts' in the EEG. Anxiolytic drugs are intended to reduce anxiety or tension at doses which do not cause sedation or sleep. Propanediols may depress deactivating centers in the caudal brainstem, thereby releasing the activating centers in the rostral brainstem and depressing the thalamic recruiting response. These drugs may also act on the amygdala. Benzodiazepines have depressant effects on the amydala or hippocampus."
NeuroSearch A/S, 26B Smedeland,
Glostrup, DK-2600, Denmark
Mod Probl Pharmacopsychiatry 1979; 14:157-73


Prescription Sedatives and Tranquilizers, What are their short-term effects? Partnership for a Drug-Free America:"Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers can cause euphoria. They also slow normal brain function, which may result in slurred speech, shallow breathing, sluggishness, fatigue, disorientation and lack of coordination or dilated pupils. During the first few days of taking a prescribed sedative or tranquilizer, a person usually feels sleepy and uncoordinated, but as the body becomes accustomed to the effects of the drug, these feelings begin to disappear. Higher doses cause impairment of memory, judgment and coordination, irritability, paranoid and suicidal ideation. Some people experience a paradoxical reaction to these drugs and can become agitated or aggressive. Using Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers with other substances - particularly alcohol - can slow breathing, or slow both the heart and respiration, and possibly lead to death."
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
405 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1601
New York, NY 10174
Phone: 212-922-1560
Donations: 888-575-3115
Fax: 212-922-1570
Press Inquiries: 212-973-3502


Sedatives and tranquilizers,"A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that has a calming effect. Sleeping pills and antianxiety medications are types of sedatives and tranquilizers. Stronger tranquilizers may be used to treat severe anxiety or symptoms of psychotic disorders (such as hallucinations, delusions, and confusion). Frequent use of some sedatives and tranquilizers may make a person dependent on them. Long-term use of strong tranquilizers can cause uncontrollable muscle movements. Examples of sedatives and mild tranquilizers include chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Mitran), diazepam (Valium, Valrelease), and triazolam (Halcion). Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol) are examples of strong tranquilizers."
Healthwise, Incorporated
P.O. Box 1989
Boise, ID 83701


Withdrawal & Long-Term Use, Yale University Health Service:"Long-term sedative and tranquilizer use is likely to result in memory loss, irritability, changes in alertness and decreased interpersonal functioning. Withdrawal from the drugs in this group resembles alcohol withdrawal and most often occurs when intake is stopped abruptly. Because withdrawal may have life threatening complications (such as seizures), discontinuing their use should not be attempted without a physician's supervision. Drugs in this group are highly addictive both psychologically and physiologically. Yale University Health Services
17 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT




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Last updated by Andrew Lopez, RN on Thursday, January 28, 2010

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