What Are Benzodiazepines or Benzos?

What Are Benzodiazepines or Benzos?

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs, a class of drugs used to replace barbiturates for insomnia, anxiety and seizures. They  have hypnotic (sleep-inducing), sedative, anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties. They are some of the most prescribed medications in the States, particularly among older people.

These specific drugs are very effective in reducing anxiety, regulating sleep and reducing panic symptoms. They are also often prescribed for convulsive disorders, muscle spasticity, involuntary movement disorders, presurgical sedation, alcohol and drugs detoxification as well as for anxiety due to gastrointestinal or cardiovascular issues.  It produces very fast results, what is one of the reasons for their popularity. Their short term use is considered safe, but in the long term, they easily lead to drug addiction, tolerance and a range of side effects. Their abuse is on the rise, particularly in combination with alcohol and other drugs such as opiates.  In various combinations, Benzos can be fatal. 

They are also prescribed for a range of other diseases, without any scientific evidence of their efficacy. Using benzos for symptoms of menopause, ulcers, stroke, heart or gastrointestinal problems is unwarranted and is a left-over from the 80’s when Benzodiazepines were advertised by pharmaceutical companies in scientific magazines for curing just about anything and were promoted as safe even in long term use.

There are five types of benzodiazepines:

  1. 2-keto compounds: chlordiazepoxide, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, halazepam, prazepam; 
  2. 3-hydroxy compounds: lorazepam, lormetazepam, oxazepam, temazepam;
  3. 7-nitro compounds: clonazepam, flunitrazepam, nimetazepam, nitrazepam;
  4. Triazolo compounds: adinazolam, alprazolam, estazolam, triazolam;
  5.  Imidazo compounds: climazolam, loprazolam, midazolam.

If you are concerned with any of these drugs, please contact us to learn more.