Outline: Therapeutic Use of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a group of medications that result from the fusion of benzene and a diazepine ring. Some of the major therapeutic uses include anxiety disorders, seizures, insomnia, and alcoholism.
Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders such as general anxiety disorder. They act on the GABA receptors, resulting in a decrease in vigilance and elimination of somatic symptoms related to anxiety such as muscle tension. Mostly used benzodiazepines include diazepam, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, and chlorazepate.
They act as an immediate treatment for seizures before intravenous access is ensured. Their mode of action is to act on the GABA receptors to prevent the involvement of the nervous system in facilitating seizures. Such medications include diazepam, clonazepam, nitrazepam, and lorazepam.
Benzodiazepines enhance sleep by acting on the GABA receptors in the brain. As such, they increase the chemical that enhances drowsiness and sedation, and this causes individuals to fall asleep. Commonly used benzodiazepines include quazepam, triazolam, lorazepam, flurazepam, and temazepam.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines such as diazepam are used to treat the mentioned to enhance recovery from alcoholism.
Benzodiazepines have different therapeutic uses in hospitals such as managing anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol dependence. As such, they should be available in hospitals at all times.
Therapeutic Use of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a group of psychoactive drugs whose chemical structure results after the fusion of benzene and a diazepine ring. The first drug to be discovered in this group was called Chlordiazepoxide. At that time, the drug was the most used among other groups of drugs due to its ability to induce sleep and treat anxiety. After that, other benzodiazepines were discovered including diazepam, oxazepam, and clonazepam among others. Due to their ability to enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), they are used for different therapeutic purposes, especially in the treatment of conditions related to the nerve cells. The common therapeutic uses of benzodiazepines include treating anxiety disorders, seizures, insomnia, and alcoholism
Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a feeling of tension, nervousness, or fear which is accompanied by unusual reactions towards a known or unknown stimulus. In extreme cases, anxiety disrupts a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living. Such a person may be diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder which requires pharmacological management. In this case, benzodiazepines are the most preferred anxiolytics for treating anxiety disorders. The common benzodiazepines used include diazepam, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, and chlorazepate among others. Since all benzodiazepines have equal efficacy, any of them can be used to lower anxiety in diagnosed patients (Bandelow, Michaelis, & Wedekind, 2017). They all act on the GABA receptors, resulting in a decrease in vigilance and elimination of somatic symptoms related to anxiety such as muscle tension. Although the dosage for the different benzodiazepines varies, they lead to the same effect if administered in the right prescription. Also, studies show that benzodiazepines administered in the right dosage do not cause dependence (Markota, Rummans, Bostwick, & Lapid, 2016). Thus, they can be relied on in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Treatment of Seizures
Seizures refer to abrupt, uncontrollable electrical disturbances to the brains which result in changes in a person’s behavior, consciousness, and feelings. Since most seizures are unpredictable, strict management measures should be put in place. Besides, timely treatment prevents patients from developing status epilepticus which can lead to death. Apart from supportive management of patients with seizures, pharmacological management is highly recommended. In this regard, benzodiazepines are among the primary medications for managing seizures. Clinical trials to determine the best management approach for seizures have shown that initiating earlier treatment with benzodiazepines can prevent it from progressing to the emergency state of status epilepticus. Since most benzodiazepines are given orally, they can be administered to the epileptic patient before intravenous access is created (Szaflarski, 2016). The commonly used benzodiazepines to treat epilepsy include diazepam, clonazepam, nitrazepam, and lorazepam. In this case, benzodiazepines should be administered immediately after earlier signs of epilepsy are noticed so that that they can act to the GABA receptors before the development of alterations which can block the action of such drugs. As a result, the patient may not recover even after administering medications.
Treatment of Insomnia
Insomnia refers to the partial or total lack of sleep when an individual wants it the most. In hospitals, insomnia is mostly witnessed in patients who present with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heartburn, kidney diseases, and mental health problems among others. To initiate sleep in such patients, health care practitioners have to offer medication that can do so without causing adverse effects to the patients. Following this, benzodiazepines such as quazepam, triazolam, lorazepam, flurazepam, and temazepam have been used to manage insomnia in patients. They act by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. By doing this, they increase the chemical that enhances drowsiness and sedation, and this causes individuals to fall asleep (Dobia, Ryan, BaHammam, & Edwards, 2019). However, benzodiazepines are only recommended for short-term use in inducing sleep since continuous use may form a habit. Thus, patients should only use them after getting directions from the physician.
Treatment of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a state whereby alcohol drinkers are addicted to it such that they develop withdrawal symptoms every time they try to quit the habit. Most patients who develop alcohol dependence develop withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and insomnia (Sachdeva, Choudhary, & Chandra, 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to manage these symptoms to ensure that patients recover totally from alcoholism. Benzodiazepines are the major drugs used to manage withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol rehab facilities use benzodiazepines such as diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, oxazepam, and lorazepam. For example, diazepam is used to treat symptoms such as anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia.
Based on the study done in this paper, benzodiazepines are one class of drugs that have several therapeutic uses in hospitals. As shown above, they manage anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol dependence. Treating such symptoms has been a continuous problem, especially when medications are not present. However, drugs belonging to the class of benzodiazepines have been of great importance in hospitals since they can manage all the symptoms mentioned above. Therefore, benzodiazepines should be availed to hospitals at all times so that they can be utilized to treat the various symptoms as described above. This will ensure that patients recover to a state of wellness at immediately after the medications act in the body.
Bandelow, B., Michaelis, S., & Wedekind, D. (2017). Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 19(2), 93.
Dobia, A., Ryan, K., BaHammam, A. S., & Edwards, A. (2019). Using benzodiazepines and Z-drugs for managing primary insomnia in adults in Saudi Arabia: an e-Delphi study to aid the development of clinical guidelines. Sleep and Breathing, 1-7.
Markota, M., Rummans, T. A., Bostwick, J. M., & Lapid, M. I. (2016, November). Benzodiazepine use in older adults: dangers, management, and alternative therapies. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 91, No. 11, pp. 1632-1639). Elsevier.
Sachdeva, A., Choudhary, M., & Chandra, M. (2015). Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: benzodiazepines and beyond. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 9(9), VE01.
Szaflarski, J. P. (2016). What Should We Prescribe for Acute Seizures When There Is No Intravenous Access?. Epilepsy Currents, 16(3), 135-136.