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Benzodiazepines stimulate GABA A receptors at an allosteric site. This facilitates GABA activity by increasing the frequency of Cl- channel opening. 

Clinical uses of benzodiazepines include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Spasticity
  • Alcohol withdrawal – DTs (Delirium Tremens)
  • Drug of choice for status epilepticus
  • Night Terrors- decrease stage 3 sleep where night terrors occur
  • Sleepwalking- decrease stage 3 sleep where sleepwalking occurs
  • Insomnia- increases sleep latency
  • Pre-operative sedation

Benzos are classified into short, intermediate, and long acting. The short acting benzos have a higher potential for abuse. In the case of overdose Flumazenil is used. Lorazepam, Oxazepam, and Temazepam (LOT) are metabolized outside of the liver and thus can be used in the elderly, chronic alcoholics, and others with liver damage. Lorazepam is the drug of choice for status epilepticus. Midazolam can be used for pre-operative sedation.

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