Read all about

benzodiazepine anticonvulsants

What is Benzodiazepine Anticonvulsants?

Benzodiazepine is one of the most prescribed medications for older patients in the US. It helps reduce anxiety, relax muscles, stops seizures and induce sleep. When used for the short-term, it is generally safe and effective. On the other hand, long-term use of this drug can lead to dependence, tolerance, and adverse effects. It is also possible for a patient to overdose on Benzodiazepine, and when mixed with alcohol and other substances, it can be fatal.

Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan (Lorazepam) side effects and drug information Ativan, with a generic name lorazepam, belongs to a group of medications called benzodiazepines. It is a prescription drug that works as a

More information

How do Benzodiazepine Anticonvulsants Work?

This class of medication acts on the central nervous system, and it is used to treat various medical conditions like seizures, anxiety and alcohol withdrawal. It blocks excessive nerve activity in the brain and other parts of the CNS. As a class of drugs, they work similarly in the brain, but different types differ in duration and potencies of action. Thus, some benzodiazepines work best in addressing particular conditions.

What are the different benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines differ in the way they are made, potency, what they are used to treat, and how quickly the body absorbs them. Some medications that fall under this class are the following:

  • Xanax and Alprazolam – Approved by US FDA for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders.
  • Librium and Chlordiazepoxide – used to manage symptoms that come with alcohol withdrawal.
  • Clorazepate and Tranxene – these are sedative, hypnotic drugs used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and severe insomnia.
  • Valium or Diazepam – this anticonvulsant, hypnotic, anxiety-reducing and sedative medication acts quickly to treat seizures, panic attacks, and insomnia. It also addresses alcohol withdrawal and restless leg syndrome. Its low potency also helps treat benzodiazepine dependence.
  • Estazolam – this sedative is used to reduce anxiety and commonly prescribed for treatment of short-term insomnia.
  • Dalmane or Flurazepam – this anxiety-reducing, sedative drug like lorazepam is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate insomnia.
  • Temazepam or Restoril – this drug is approved for short-term management of insomnia.
  • Oxazepam – this drug is used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety as well as to control the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Generally, Benzodiazepines are effective in treating various psychological and neurological disorders. It affects the neurons that trigger anxiety and stress reactions.

These drugs have a long history of development. It gained its first FDA approval in the 1960s. There were various options available in this class, and many benzodiazepines are not made generic and are very affordable.

Consequently, all benzodiazepines are under schedule IV controlled substances. All drugs under this class have the potential for addiction, abuse, and diversion.

Benzodiazepine Overdose

Taking more than the prescribed dose of benzodiazepine is rarely fatal. However, it should not be mixed with alcohol, opioids, barbiturates and tricyclic antidepressant.

The most common symptoms of an overdose in benzodiazepine is a depression on the central nervous system and intoxication involving impaired balance and movement. Likewise, patients on benzodiazepine overdose can also have slurred speech.

To treat overdose, Flumazenil can be used; however, the body will naturally clear off the drug. The person having the symptoms should be monitored and supported during this stage.