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, 88 (3), 247-56

Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse


Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse

Michael F Weaver. Yale J Biol Med.


Sedatives are widely prescribed for anxiety or insomnia and include benzodiazepines, selective benzodiazepine receptor subtype agonists (z-drugs), and barbiturates. These sedatives are controlled substances due to their potential for misuse and abuse. Misuse is often self-medication (chemical coping) of psychological symptoms in ways unauthorized by the prescriber, usually as dose escalation leading to requests for early refills. Sedatives are abused for euphoric effects, which may have dangerous consequences. Some sedative overdoses can be treated with flumazenil, a reversal agent, along with supportive care. Sedative withdrawal syndrome is treated by tapering the sedative and may require hospitalization. Long-term treatment of sedative addiction requires counseling, often with the help of an addiction-treatment professional.

Keywords: benzodiazepine; chemical coping; prescription drug abuse; sedative; z-drug.

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