What are sedative and hypnotics?
Sedative and hypnotics are drugs that depress or slow down the body’s functions. Often these drugs are referred to as tranquilizers and sleeping drugs or sometimes just as sedatives. Their effects range from calming down anxious people to indorsing sleep. Both tranquilizers and sleeping drugs can have either effect, it depends on how much is taken.

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the two main categories of sedative and hypnotic. Some famous barbiturates are secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), chlorazepate (Tranxene), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax). A few sedative and hypnotics do not fit in either category. They comprise methaqualone (Quaalude), ethchlorvynol (Placidyl), chloralhydrate (Noctec), and mebrobamate (Miltown). Additionally, alcohol belongs to the sedative and hypnotic group.
What is the difference between sedatives and hypnotics?
A sedative is a drug that produces a relaxing, calming effect. Sedatives are usually given during daytime hours, and although they may make the patient drowsy, they usually do not produce sleep. A hypnotic is a drug that induces sleep, that is, it allows the patient to fall asleep and stay a sleep. Hypnotics also may be called soporifics. Hypnotics are given at night or hour of sleep (HS).
How do sedative and hypnotics effect the body?
The effects of barbiturates are in many ways like the effects of alcohol. Small amounts produce calmness and relax muscles. Larger doses can cause slurred talking, memory loss, touchiness, changes in alertness, decreased social functioning, staggering gait, poor judgment, slow understanding, and uncertain reflexes. These effects make it dangerous to drive a car or operate machinery. Large doses can cause syncope and death. Accidental deaths sometimes occur when a person takes one dose, becomes muddled and unintentionally takes additional or larger doses. Additionally, there is less difference between the amount that produces sleep and the amount that causing death.

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Neonate born to mothers who misuse sedatives throughout their pregnancy may be physically dependent on drugs and show removal shortly after birth. Their symptoms may contain breathing problems, feeding problems, disturbed sleep, sweating, touchiness, and fever. Sedative and hypnotics also may pass through the placenta, creating birth flaws and behavioral problems in children.
Question: do sedative and hypnotics have warning signs?
Answer: yes, they do
What are the warning signs?
All these drugs can be dangerous when they are not taken according to a physician’s instructions. They can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Regular use over an extended period of time may result in tolerance, which means people must take larger and larger doses to get similar effects. When regular persons who use large doses stop using large doses of these drugs suddenly, they may develop physical removal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions, and death. When users become psychologically dependent, they feel as if they need the drug to function. Finding and using the drug becomes the focus in life.
Anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics:
Anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics are medicines that work on the central nervous system to relieve anxiety, aid sleep, or have a calming effect.
The benzodiazepines are the main class of drugs that fit into this category. Although there are more than twenty benzodiazepine derivatives, only certain ones have been approved to treat anxiety (eg, alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam), sleeplessness (insomnia) (eg, estazolam, flurazepam, quazepam, temazepam and triazolam), or panic disorder (eg, alprazolam). Barbiturates are an older class of medicine that used to be used for these indications as well; however, barbiturates have a narrow therapeutic index (window of effectiveness before toxicity occurs), and are more likely to cause respiratory depression, coma and death, and are very rarely used nowadays. The main issue with use of benzodiazepines is dependence. Benzodiazepines differ in their propensity to cause sedation and in the length of time they act for. All benzodiazepines are thought to work by enhancing the inhibitory action of ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Other drug classes that are also considered effective at relieving anxiety include the SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants and buspirone; other medicines may also be prescribed off-label. These drugs are often preferred over benzodiazepines for anxiety because they are unlikely to cause dependence; however, they may not work as quickly as benzodiazepines. SSRIs typically have a delayed onset-of-action and may initially worsen anxiety.
Other drug classes that have a sedative effective include first-generation antihistamines, agonists of melatonin receptors, anesthetics, eszopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem, zopiclone, and several others. Many of these drugs also have a hypnotic effect.


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