Page: Assignment in Pharmacology
Dinoy Edward Arlu V. BSN II-D
What are sedative-hypnotics?
Sedative-hypnotics are drugs whichdepress or slow down the body's functions.Often these drugs are referred to astranquilizers and sleeping pills orsometimes just as sedatives. Their effectsrange from calming down anxious people topromoting sleep. Both tranquilizers andsleeping pills can have either effect,depending on how much is taken. At highdoses or when they are abused, many ofthese drugs can even cause unconsciousnessand death.
What are some of the sedative-hypnotics?
Barbiturates and benzodiazepines arethe two major categories of sedative-hypnotics. The drugs in each of these groupsare similar in chemical structure. Somewell-known barbiturates are secobarbital(Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal).Diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium),and chlorazepate (Tranxene) are examplesof benzodiazepines. A few sedative-hypnotics do not fit in either category. Theyinclude methaqualone (Quaalude),ethchlorvynol (Placidyl), chloral hydrate(Noctec), and mebrobamate (Miltown). All ofthese drugs can be dangerous when theyare not taken according to a physician'sinstructions.
Can sedative-hypnotics cause dependence?
Yes. They can cause both physical andpsychological dependence. Regular use overa long period of time may result intolerance, which means people have totake larger and larger doses to get thesame effects. When regular users stopusing large doses of these drugs suddenly,they may develop physical withdrawalsymptoms ranging from restlessness,insomnia and anxiety, to convulsions anddeath. When users become psychologicallydependent, they feel as if they need thedrug to function. Finding and using the drugbecomes the main focus in life.
Is it true that combining sedative-hypnoticswith alcohol is especially dangerous?
Yes. Taken together, alcohol andsedative-hypnotics can kill. The use ofbarbiturates and other sedative-hypnoticswith other drugs that slow down the body,such as alcohol, multiplies their effectsand greatly increases the risk of death.Overdose deaths can occur whenbarbiturates and alcohol are usedtogether, either deliberately oraccidentally.
Can sedative-hypnotics affect an unbornfetus?
Yes. Babies born to mothers who abusesedatives during their pregnancy may bephysically dependent on the drugs andshow withdrawal symptoms shortly afterthey are born. Their symptoms may includebreathing problems, feeding difficulties,disturbed sleep, sweating, irritability, andfever. Many sedative-hypnotics passthrough the placenta easily and havecaused birth defects and behavioralproblems in babies born to women who haveabused these drugs during their pregnancy.
What are barbiturates?
Barbiturates are often called "barbs"and "downers." Barbiturates that arecommonly abused include amobarbital(Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), andsecobarbital (Seconal). These drugs are soldin capsules and tablets or sometimes in aliquid form or suppositories.
What are the effects of barbiturates whenthey are abused?