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.
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
Bromazepam Lectopam, Lexotanil, Lexotan, Bromam
Brotizolam Lendormin, Dormex, Sintonal, Noctilan.
Chlordiazepoxide Librium, Risolid, Elenium..
Clonazepam Rivotril, Klonopin, Iktorivil, Paxam.
Clorazepate Tranxene, Tranxilium.
Clotiazepam Veratran, Clozan, Rize.
Cloxazolam Sepazon, Olcadil.
Diazepam Antenex, Apaurin, Apzepam, Apozepam, Hexalid, Pax,
Stesolid, Stedon, Valium, Vival, Valaxona.
Etizolam Etilaam, Pasaden, Depas.
Flunitrazepam Rohypnol, Fluscand, Flunipam, Ronal, Rohydorm.
Flurazepam Dalmadorm, Dalmane
Lorazepam Ativan, Temesta, Tavor, Lorabenz.
Lormetazepam Loramet, Noctamid, Pronoctan.
Midazolam Dormicum, Versed, Hypnovel, Dormonid.
Nitrazepam Mogadon, Alodorm, Pacisyn, Dumolid, Nitrazadon.
Nordazepam Madar, Stilny.
Oxazepam Seresta, Serax, Serenid, Serepax, Oxabenz, Oxapax.
Prazepam Lysanxia, Centrax
Temazepam Restoril, Normison, Euhypnos, Temaze, Tenox.
Triazolam Halcion, Rilamir.
Atypical benzodiazepines receptor ligands
Clobazam Frisium, Urbanol.
Flumazenil Anexate, Lanexat, Mazicon, Romanzicon.
Zaleplon Sonata, Starnoc.
Zolpidem Ambien, Nytamel, Stilnoct, Stilnox, Zoldem, Zolnod.
Zopiclone Imovane, Rhovane, Ximovan, Zileze, Zimoclone, Zimovane,
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.