Benzodiazepines are derivatives of 1,4-benzodiazepine. Mainly used in the brainstem network and the limbic system (including amygdala, hippocampus, etc.). There are two types of neurons in the brain that can affect emotional responses and restrict each other. Noradrenergic neurons increase the anxiety response, while serotonergic neurons inhibit it. Benzodiazepines increase serotonin levels in the brain and enhance the action of another inhibitory transmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits the action of noradrenergic neurons. Due to its low toxicity and clinical use, this class of drugs has gradually replaced the barbiturate drugs and has become the most widely used sedative and hypnotic drug in clinical practice.
This class of drugs has a wide-ranging inhibitory effect on the central nervous system, resulting in sedative, hypnotic and anticonvulsant effects. In general, sedation and hypnosis are not strictly different, often resulting in different effects due to different doses. Sedation occurs at low doses to calm the patient, reduce or eliminate agitation, anxiety, etc.; moderate doses can cause approximate physiological sleep; large doses can produce anticonvulsant, anesthetic effects. Long-term use of this class of drugs can almost produce tolerance and dependence. Sudden withdrawal of drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms, so medication should be strictly controlled to avoid long-term use.