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Sedative-Hypnotic-Anxiolytics: Benzodiazepines & others. Cesar A. Soutullo, M.D. UC-3 Psychopharm Lectures. Sedatives, Hypnotics, Anxiolytics. Benzodiazepines Barbiturates (not used) Antihistamines Beta-blockers Buspirone Zolpidem. General Definitions.

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Sedative-Hypnotic-Anxiolytics: Benzodiazepines & others


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    1. Sedative-Hypnotic-Anxiolytics:Benzodiazepines & others Cesar A. Soutullo, M.D. UC-3 Psychopharm Lectures

    2. Sedatives, Hypnotics, Anxiolytics • Benzodiazepines • Barbiturates (not used) • Antihistamines • Beta-blockers • Buspirone • Zolpidem

    3. General Definitions • Sedative: Calm down, treat agitation • Hypnotic: Induce sleep • go to sleep fast, feel refreshed tomorrow !!! • Anxiolytic: Reduce anxiety • physical, emotional, cognitive

    4. Sedatives: History • Alcohol, the oldest known sedative • “When Noah left the Ark he planted a vineyard, drank the wine, and was drunken, and he was uncovered within his tent.” Genesis • 1900 Barbiturates: narrow therapeutic range • 1960’s Chlordiazepoxide [Librium]

    5. Benzodiazepines (BZD): Mechanism of Action • BDZ recept linked to GABA-A receptor complex (bound to Cl channels). • BDZ enhance GABA effect. • GABA: an inhibitory neurotransmitter • Open Cl channels in response to GABA activation, hyperpolarization, decrease neuronal firing • Effects: Sedative, Hypnotic, Anticonvulsant, Muscle-Relaxant

    6. Benzodiazepine Receptors • Type 1: • Most common throughout CNS, mediates SEDATION: Tolerance • Type 2: • hyppocampus, striatum, spinal cord, mediates ANXIOLYSIS • Type 3: • Cerebellar granule cells

    7. BZD: Pharmacokinetics • Lipid-soluble: fast cross blood-brain-barrier: rapid onset of action. • Persist longer in high fat-to-lean body mass • obese, elderly • Abuse liability (Valium) • Biotransformation & Half-Life: • Hepatic oxidation: long-t1/2, active metabolites • Glucuronidation: short-t1/2, no active metab.

    8. BZD: Interactions • CNS Depressants • p450 2C9 • Diazepam, TCAs, Warfarin, phenitoin. (luvox inhibit) • p450 3A4 • triazolam, midazolam, alprazolam, CBZ, quinidine, terfenadine, erythromycin, (luvox, serzone inhibit) • Disulfiram & Cimetidine BZD levels

    9. Benzos: Patterns of Use • 45% of Use <30 days • 80% of Use <4 months • 15% of Use >12 months (7-18% Europe) • Women, twice the rate as men • <40% of Anxiety Diagnosis Treated • >40% of Panic Disorder Treated

    10. BZD: Adverse Effects • BZD vs other psychotropics have few SE • Sedation, CNS Depression • Worse if combined with EtOH • Behavioral Disinhibition • Irritab, excitement, aggression (<1%), rage • Psychomotor & Cognitive Impairment • coordination, attention (driving) • poor visual-spatial ability (not aware of it) • Ataxia, confusion

    11. BZD: Adverse Effects • Overdose: Rare fatalities if BZD alone • Severe CNS & Respiratory Depression if combined with: • alcohol • barbiturates • narcotics • tricyclic antidepressants

    12. BZD: Dependence & Withdrawal • Except diazepam, low abuse potential if properly prescribed and supervised • Alprazolam & Triazolam low street value due to sedation • lipophilic, abuse potential • Short t1/2 more intense withdrawal

    13. BZD: Withdrawal • Worse if stop abruptly • Symptoms • GI Sx, Diaphoresis, pulse, BP • Tremor, lethargy, dizziness, headaches • Restlessness, insomnia, irritability, anxiety • Depersonalization, perceptual disturbances • Also: depression, tinnitus, delirium, panic, hallucinations, abnormal muscular movs. • Seizures: abrupt discont of short acting • Treatment: Long half-life benzo

    14. Barbiturates • Not used for anxiety or insomnia • Potentially Fatal Respiratory Depression • narrow therapeutic range • Potent liver inducers: interactions • Ultra-short t1/2: IV Gen Anesthesia • thiopental, methohexital • Sedative • Amobarbital (amytal), pentobarbital • Phenobarbital: anticonvulsant

    15. Antihistamines • Tx of anxiety & insomnia, Non-addicting • Some anticholinergic effects • Diphenhydramine [Benadryl] • 25-100 mg hs sleep OR 10-25 mgr prn anxiety • Hydroxyzine [Atarax] • 25-100 mg hs sleep • 10-25 mg 1-4 times/day

    16. Beta-blockers • Physiologic component of anxiety: • tachycardia, palpitations, tremor, sweating • No CNS depression • non-addicting, no drowsiness • Do not use in asthma, diabetes, CHF • monitor BP, pulse • Helpful for performance anxiety: • propranolol 10 mg prn

    17. Buspirone [BuSpar] • 5-HT-1A mixed agonist-antagonist, weak DA block • Not a benzo, not hypnotic, no tolerance, no dependance, no w/d • Anxiolytic?, possible efficacy (?) • No anticonvulsant activity, will not protect from withdrawal symptoms • Start 5 mg tid, max 60 mg/day

    18. Zolpidem [Ambien] • Acts on Benzo type-1 receptor (sleep) • Fast onset 30 min-2 hrs • Elimination t1/2 3 hrs • increases quality of slow wave sleep, no effect on REM • Minimal rebound insomnia, anxiety, or am sedation • Probable less abuse potential, (caution)

    19. Summary • Sedatives • Benzodiazepines • Antipsychotics • Hypnotics (Non-pharmacological 1st) • Antihistamines • Zolpidem • Benzodiazepines (rapid onset, short t1/2) • Anxiolytics • Benzodiazepines (acute) • Antidepressants (chronic)