Benzodiazapines Facts

Benzodiazepine Facts   

What are benzodiazepines?

The Irish Patients Association is concerned about the mis-use and over use of Benzodiazepines, the following taken from the Australian Drug Foundation may better inform you,

Benzodiazepines (pronounced ben-zoh-die-az-a-pins) are depressant drugs.

This means that they slow down the activity of the central nervous system and the messages going between the brain and the body.

Benzodiazepines, also know as “minor tranquillisers”, are most commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve stress and anxiety to help people sleep.

Some people use benzodiazepines illegally to become intoxicated or to “come down” from the effects of stimulants such as amphetamines or cocaine. 

Other Names

Benzodiazepines are know by their chemical name (generic) names or brand names. In each case, these are exactly the same drug, usually made by different  companies some common benzodiazepines include:

Generic name                         Brand Name

Diazepam                               Ducene and Valium

Oxazepam                              Alepam , Murelax, Serepax

 Nitrazepam                            Alodorm and Mogadon

Temazepam                           Euhypnos and Normison.

Slang Names :-  “Benzos”, “tranx”, “sleepers”, “downers”, “pills”,

How are they used?

 Benzodiazepines are usually swallowed. Some people also inject them; however this method carries significant risk of harms such as collapsed veins, damage to organs, stroke or even death.

Effects of Benzodiazepines

There is evidence that after prolonged use, benzodiazepines are highly addictive  (5 to 6 weeks).

People who use benzodiazepines regularly can develop dependence and tolerance to them , which means they need to take larger amounts of benzodiazepines to get the same effect.

Dependence on benzodiazepines can be psychological , physical, or both.

People who are dependent on benzodiazepines find that using them becomes far more important than other activities in their life. They crave benzodiazepines and find it very difficult to stop using them.

 People who are psychologically dependent on them may find they feel the urge to use them when they arte in specific surroundings or socializing with friends.

 Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body adapts to benzodiazepines and gets used to functioning with the benzodiazepines present.

 Some  Long- term effects (after 5 to 6 weeks)

 Memory loss                       anxiety           aggression

Confusion and difficulty thinking clearly             irritability, paranoia

Lack of motivation  depression   fatigue   weakness   drowsiness and sleepiness.

According to Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey, in 2007 3.3 per cent of the Australian population had used tranquillisers / sleeping pills (including enzodiazepines) for non-medical purposes at some stage in their lifetime.

 Management of drug withdrawal (taken from the World Health Organisation).

 Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is best undertaken in a planned (elective) manner, using a gradually tapering dose over 8-12 weeks and with conversion to long acting benzodiazepines, rather than using short-acting ones. Psychosocial support is helpful for individuals undergoing a tapering regime. Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, if uncontrolled can be severe; if a severe withdrawal develops (or occurs in an unplanned way on sudden stoppage of these drugs), specialist advice should be obtained regarding a high-dose benzodiazepines sedation regime and hospitalization.

Strength of recommendation: STRONG.

Full list of benzodiazepines.

 Drug Name                                                          Common brand name

 Alprazolam                                                           Helex, Xanax, Xanor, Onax, Alprox,Restyl

 Bretazenil                                                             N/A

 Bromazepam                                                        Lectopam, Lexotanil, Lexotan, Bromam

 Brotizolam                                                            Lendormin, Dormex, Sintonal, Noctilan.

Chlordiazepoxide                                                  Librium,  Risolid,  Elenium..

 Cinlazepam                                                         Gerodorm

 Clonazepam                                                        Rivotril, Klonopin, Iktorivil, Paxam.

 Clorazepate                                                         Tranxene, Tranxilium.

 Clotiazepam                                                        Veratran, Clozan, Rize.

 Cloxazolam                                                         Sepazon, Olcadil.

 Delorazepam                                                       Dadumir.

 Diazepam                                        Antenex, Apaurin, Apzepam, Apozepam, Hexalid, Pax,

                                                         Stesolid, Stedon, Valium, Vival, Valaxona.

Estazolam                                                    ProSom.

 Etizolam                                          Etilaam, Pasaden, Depas.

 Flunitrazepam                                Rohypnol, Fluscand, Flunipam, Ronal, Rohydorm.

 Flurazepam                                   Dalmadorm, Dalmane

 Flutoprazepam                                  Restas

 Halazepam                                        Paxipam

 Ketazolam                                       Anxon

 Loprazolam                                    Dormonoct.

 Lorazepam                                    Ativan, Temesta, Tavor, Lorabenz.

 Lormetazepam                             Loramet, Noctamid, Pronoctan.

 Medazepam                                 Nobrium.

 Midazolam                                    Dormicum, Versed, Hypnovel, Dormonid.

 Nimetazepam                              Erimin.

 Nitrazepam                                 Mogadon, Alodorm, Pacisyn, Dumolid, Nitrazadon.

 Nordazepam                               Madar, Stilny.

 Oxazepam                                  Seresta, Serax, Serenid, Serepax, Oxabenz, Oxapax.

 Phenazepam                              Phenazepam

 Pinazepam                                 Domar.

 Prazepam                                  Lysanxia, Centrax

 Premazepam                                    N/A

 Quazepam                                 Doral.

 Temazepam                              Restoril, Normison, Euhypnos, Temaze, Tenox.

 Tetrazepam                              Mylostan.

 Triazolam                                 Halcion, Rilamir.

Atypical benzodiazepines receptor ligands

 Clobazam                      Frisium, Urbanol.

 DMCM

Flumazenil                      Anexate, Lanexat, Mazicon, Romanzicon.

 Eszopiclone                  Lunesta

 Zaleplon                        Sonata, Starnoc.

Zolpidem                        Ambien, Nytamel, Stilnoct, Stilnox, Zoldem, Zolnod.

 Zopiclone                      Imovane, Rhovane, Ximovan, Zileze, Zimoclone, Zimovane,

                                      Zopitian, Zorclone.

 A major problem with the” benzos” is that these agents should be prescribed in the short term only, but the chronic nature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder requires by definition long term treatment.