What Benzodiazepines Are Typically Prescribed For Sleep Disorders?

It is often difficult for one to complete their REM sleep cycle as they are distraught due to their sleep disorders. There are several types of sleep disorders like Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, Circadian Rhythm disorders, among others. If your REM sleep cycle isn’t proper, your daily routine will definitely be affected. Since the 1970s, doctors have been prescribing benzodiazepines to treat such sleep disorders.

What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are depressant drugs, but they do not make a person feel depressed. In fact, they decrease the central nervous system's activity, which helps a person relax and calm their nerves. It is usually prescribed by doctors to the patients who need to relieve stress and anxiety and help them sleep. Some also call them minor tranquilizers. They can also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal and epilepsy.

Types of benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are categorized into three types; long, intermediate, and short-acting. These categories are based upon how long it takes for the medicine to activate in the body.

Benzodiazepines are known both by their chemical and brand names. They are always the same drugs, but the only difference is the company that has manufactured them. Here are some examples of chemical names and their brand names.

  • Diazepam – Ducene ®, Valium ®
  • Oxazepam – Alepam ®, Murelax ®, Serepax ®
  •  Nitrazepam – Alodorm ®, Mogadon ®
  • Temazepam – Euhypnos ®, Normison ®
  • Alprazolam – Xanaz ®, Kalma ®, Alprax ®

How do they work?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) are neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that transfer the messages between the neurons. Benzodiazepines get attached to these receptors, sedate the nervous system that calms the muscles, and help with insomnia.

Warnings and Precautions

You should never consume benzodiazepines with alcohol or any other sedative drugs. Mixing benzodiazepines with opioids are strongly prohibited. Opioids are commonly found in pain medications and cough syrups. Combining both can be injurious to your health as it can slow your breathing, and the worst-case scenario can be fatal.

It is crucial that you take medicine as the doctor prescribes it. It would be best if you never increased or decreased the dose without your doctor's official confirmation. Since suddenly stopping benzodiazepines can have physical withdrawals. Your doctor or physician will help develop a plan for you that will allow you to reduce the dosage safely to get you off the medication.

Benzodiazepines are not recommended for people:

  • Who has a history of alcohol, tobacco, or drug abuse
  •  Who are elderly
  •  Who are pregnant
  •  Who have impaired breathing, liver, or kidney function.

As mentioned above, there are several viable options of benzodiazepines that you can take to treat sleeping disorders. Xanax, Ambien, and Valium have been regarded as the recommended options in order to treat insomnia.

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