Drugs for the relief of anxiety. They will induce sleep when given in large doses at night, and so are HYPNOTICS as well. Conversely, most hypnotics will sedate when given in divided doses during the day. Prescription of these drugs is widespread but physical and psychological DEPENDENCE occurs as well as TOLERANCE to their eﬀects, especially among those with personality disorders or who abuse drugs and alcohol. This is particularly true of the BARBITURATES which are now limited in their use, but also applies to the BENZODIAZEPINES, the most commonly used anxiolytics and hypnotics. Withdrawal syndromes may occur if drug treatment is stopped too abruptly; hypnotic sedatives and anxiolytics should therefore not be prescribed indiscriminately, but reserved for short courses. Among the anxiolytics are the widely used benzodiazepines, the rarely used barbiturates, and the occasionally prescribed drugs such as BUSPIRONE and beta blockers like OXPRENOLOL (see BETA-ADRENOCEPTORBLOCKING DRUGS).
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary