DrPrashant May - 18 - 2010 explain why, sedatives/hypnotics

by Dr. Prashant, MD.

A sedative  is drug which produces calmness, reduces excitement.

A hypnotic is a drug which produces /induces sleep.

A sedative given in heigher dose may act as hypnotic.

Both Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines are sdatives and hypnotics.

1- Barbiturates have low therapeutic index, have low safety margin.

Benzodiazepines have high therapeutic index, have hiogher safety margin. Ingestion of even 20 tablets does not endanger life

2-Barbiturates  suppress/depress respiratory center. Overdose may lead to respiratory failure, apnea results.

Benzodiazepines do not cause respiratory depression to the extent barbiturates do.

3- Barbiturates suppress/depress vasomotor centre, leading to hypotension.

Benzodiazepines , hypnotic doses do not lead to hypotension.

4-Barbiturates distort normal balance of REM/NREM sleep, leading to hangover.

Benzodiazepines  , hypnotic doses cause less hangover.

5-Benzodiazepines overdose can be treated by  Flumazenil antidote.

Barbiturate overdose is fatal , no anti dote is available , only forced alkaline diuresis is done to prevent poisoning.

6- Barbituraters are enzyme inducers may lead to failure of drugs like oral contraceptives given cocurrently.


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