Term: Benzodiazepines

Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2010-08-05


Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They are used to slow down the nervous system and are typically classified as having short, intermediate or a long-acting half-life, to reflect how long these medications remain active in the body. Benzodiazepines can be used to treat: anxiety disorders, panic disorders, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasticity, alcohol withdrawal, and as a perioperative adjunct to anesthesia (Repchinsky, 2009). Tolerance and physical and psychological dependence may occur with prolonged use (Repchinsky, 2009). Abrupt cessation of benzodiazepines is not recommended and tapering-down the dose can reduce withdrawal symptoms which can occur with long term use (Lader, Tylee, & Donoghue, 2009).

Additional Information

Related concepts 

Related terms 


Term used in