Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (BZ): 

newer; depress CNS, selective anxiolytic effect (no sedative effect); are not general anesthetics (but does produce sedation, stupor) or analgesics 

BZ effects: 

1.  Central: BZs bind GABAA receptors in limbic system (amygdala, septum, hippocampus; involved in emotions) and enhance inhibition of neurons in limbic system (this may produce anxiolytic effects of BZs)

a. GABA receptor: pentameric (α, β, δ, γ subunits)
i.  Binding sites: GABA (↑ conductance (G) of Cl-, hyperpolarization, inhibition), barbiturate (↑ GABA effect), benzodiazepine (↑ GABA effect), picrotoxin (block Cl channel)

b. GABA agonists: GABA (binds GABA → Cl influx; have ↑ frequency of Cl channel opening; BZs alone- without GABA don’t affect Cl channel function)

c.  Antagonists: bicuculline (competitively blocks GABA binding; ↓ inhibition,→ convulsions; no clinical use), picrotoxin (non-competitively blocks GABA actions,  Cl channel → ↓ inhibition → convulsions)

2.  Other agents at BZ receptor: 

a.    Agonists: zolpidem (acts at BZ receptor to produce pharmacological actions)

b.    Inverse agonists: β-carbolines (produce opposite effects at BZ binding site-- ↓ Cl conductance; no therapeutic uses since → anxiety, irritability, agitation, delirium, convulsions)

3. Antagonists: flumazenil (block agonists and inverse agonists, have no biological effects themselves; can precipitate withdrawal in dependent people)

Metabolism: many BZs have very long action (since metabolism is slow); drugs have active metabolites

2 major reactions: demethylation and hydroxylation (both very slow reactions)

Fast reaction: glucuronidation and urinary excretion

Plasma half life: long (for treating anxiety, withdrawal, muscle relaxants), intermediate (insomnia, anxiety), short (insomnia), ultra-short (<2hrs; pre-anesthetic medication)

Acute toxicity: very high therapeutic index and OD usually not life threatening (rarely see coma or death)

Treatment: support respiration, BP, gastric lavage, give antagonist (e.g., glumazenil; quickly reverses BD-induced respiratory depression)

Tolerance: types include pharmacodynamic (down-regulation of CNS response due to presence of drug; this is probably the mechanism by which tolerance develops), cross-tolerance (with other BZ and CNS depressants like EtOH and BARBS), acquisition of tolerance (tolerance develops fastest in anticonvulsant > sedation >> muscle relaxant > antianxiety; means people can take BZs for long time for antianxiety without → tolerance)

Physical dependence: low abuse potential (no buz) but physical/psychological dependence may occur; physical dependence present when withdrawal symptoms occur (mild = anxiety, insomnia, irritability, bad dreams, tremors, anorexia; severe = agitation, depression, panic, paranoia, muscle twitches, convulsions)

Drug interactions: minimally induce liver enzymes so few interactions; see additive CNS depressant effects (can be severe and → coma and death if BZs taken with other CNS depressants like ethanol)

Related Questions Sedative Hypnotics Anxiolytics

 Other sedatives: carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine, and methocarbamol are used for muscle relaxation.

Baclofen
1. Used in spasticity states to relax skeletal muscle.
2. Occasionally used in trigeminal neuralgia.


Antihistamines (first-generation H1 receptor blockers)
1. Used for sedation (e.g., diphenhydramine).

Ethyl alcohol

Buspirone

1. Short half-life (2–4 hours).
2. Relieves anxiety.
3. Does not act as an anticonvulsant.
4. Is not a good muscle relaxant.
5. Minimum abuse potential.

Benzodiazepines
All metabolites are active sedatives except the final glucuronide product. Elimination half-life varies a great deal from drug to drug.

α-Hydroxylation is a rapid route of metabolism that is unique to triazolam, midazolam, and alprazolam.
This accounts for the very rapid metabolism and short sedative actions of these drugs.

Pharmacological effects of benzodiazepines

- Antianxiety.
- Sedation.
- Anticonvulsant (including drug-induced convulsions).
- Amnesia, especially drugs like triazolam.
- Relax skeletal muscle (act on CNS polysynaptic pathways).

Indications

- IV sedation, (e.g., midazolam, diazepam, lorazepam).
- Antianxiety.
- Sleep induction.
- Anticonvulsant (e.g., diazepam, clonazepam).
- Panic disorders.
- Muscle relaxation.


Adverse effects

- Ataxia, confusion.
- Excessive sedation.
- Amnesia (not a desired effect with daytime sedation).
- Altered sleep patterns (increase stage 2 and decrease stage 4 sleep).

Benzodiazepines (BZ): 

newer; depress CNS, selective anxiolytic effect (no sedative effect); are not general anesthetics (but does produce sedation, stupor) or analgesics 

BZ effects: 

1.  Central: BZs bind GABAA receptors in limbic system (amygdala, septum, hippocampus; involved in emotions) and enhance inhibition of neurons in limbic system (this may produce anxiolytic effects of BZs)

a. GABA receptor: pentameric (α, β, δ, γ subunits)
i.  Binding sites: GABA (↑ conductance (G) of Cl-, hyperpolarization, inhibition), barbiturate (↑ GABA effect), benzodiazepine (↑ GABA effect), picrotoxin (block Cl channel)

b. GABA agonists: GABA (binds GABA → Cl influx; have ↑ frequency of Cl channel opening; BZs alone- without GABA don’t affect Cl channel function)

c.  Antagonists: bicuculline (competitively blocks GABA binding; ↓ inhibition,→ convulsions; no clinical use), picrotoxin (non-competitively blocks GABA actions,  Cl channel → ↓ inhibition → convulsions)

2.  Other agents at BZ receptor: 

a.    Agonists: zolpidem (acts at BZ receptor to produce pharmacological actions)

b.    Inverse agonists: β-carbolines (produce opposite effects at BZ binding site-- ↓ Cl conductance; no therapeutic uses since → anxiety, irritability, agitation, delirium, convulsions)

3. Antagonists: flumazenil (block agonists and inverse agonists, have no biological effects themselves; can precipitate withdrawal in dependent people)

Metabolism: many BZs have very long action (since metabolism is slow); drugs have active metabolites

2 major reactions: demethylation and hydroxylation (both very slow reactions)

Fast reaction: glucuronidation and urinary excretion

Plasma half life: long (for treating anxiety, withdrawal, muscle relaxants), intermediate (insomnia, anxiety), short (insomnia), ultra-short (<2hrs; pre-anesthetic medication)

Acute toxicity: very high therapeutic index and OD usually not life threatening (rarely see coma or death)

Treatment: support respiration, BP, gastric lavage, give antagonist (e.g., glumazenil; quickly reverses BD-induced respiratory depression)

Tolerance: types include pharmacodynamic (down-regulation of CNS response due to presence of drug; this is probably the mechanism by which tolerance develops), cross-tolerance (with other BZ and CNS depressants like EtOH and BARBS), acquisition of tolerance (tolerance develops fastest in anticonvulsant > sedation >> muscle relaxant > antianxiety; means people can take BZs for long time for antianxiety without → tolerance)

Physical dependence: low abuse potential (no buz) but physical/psychological dependence may occur; physical dependence present when withdrawal symptoms occur (mild = anxiety, insomnia, irritability, bad dreams, tremors, anorexia; severe = agitation, depression, panic, paranoia, muscle twitches, convulsions)

Drug interactions: minimally induce liver enzymes so few interactions; see additive CNS depressant effects (can be severe and → coma and death if BZs taken with other CNS depressants like ethanol)

Chloral hydrate

1. Short-acting sleep inducer—less risk of “hangover” effect the next day.
2. Little change on REM sleep.
3. Metabolized to trichloroethanol, an active metabolite; further metabolism inactivates the drug.
4. Used for conscious sedation in dentistry.
5. Can result in serious toxicity if the dose is not controlled.