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Benzodiazepines, commonly known by the product names of Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Librium, are primarily prescribed by doctors to treat patients with anxiety, insomnia, seizures, panic attacks, and alcohol withdrawal. Additionally, this class of medicines is often used to control prolonged epileptic seizures.Other physician monitored uses include pre surgical sedation and treatment of involuntary movement disorders.

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About Benzodiazepines

How Benzodiazepines Work

Benzodiazepines have a rapid anti-anxiolytic effect, making them an effective medication to treat unpredictable and/or severe episodic psychiatric events. This class of medicines function by amplifying the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which reduces the neural activities that lead to stress and anxiety. While episodic and short-term use of benzodiazepines is generally safe, longer term use is discouraged due to their addictive nature and other possible adverse effects. However, benzodiazepines are very dangerous during pregnancy. These medications have been linked to birth defects if taken during the first trimester. The drug is also passed along to an infant through its mother's breast milk.

Benzodiazepines Side Effects

The main side effects from benzodiazepines are:
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
If this drug is mixed with alcohol, narcotics, or other tranquilizers, it will greatly (and dangerously) enhance the sedative effect, and it can be fatal. Other effects such as headache and disorientation have been reported. Therefore, driving and operating heavy machinery should be avoided when taking this medication.

Benzodiazepines Withdrawal

Patients who take high doses of these drugs develop a high tolerance and dependence and can experience severe withdrawal symptoms if the medication is stopped too abruptly. Benzodiazepines withdrawal symptoms include agitation, insomnia, tremors, muscle cramping, and sweating. As a result, patients must taper off these medications gradually as directed by a physician.

Benzodiazepines Abuse

Benzodiazepines should not be taken without doctor supervision. Nevertheless, millions of Americans pop a Valium or Xanax into their system, often regularly, without a valid prescription. It can lead to addiction or worse. If they drive while on this drug, or mix it with alcohol, it can lead to disaster, including causing the deaths of themselves or others. It is illegal to take a benzodiazepine without a prescription. Health Street can drug test for benzodiazepines in the urine or hair. Even if someone has a valid prescription, they can still be abusing the drug by taking it more frequently or in higher quantities than prescribed, and a professional medical review officer can determine that by reviewing the lab results.

Urine Drug Testing

Health Street can detect recent use of benzodiazepines in our 9 panel (or higher) urine drug tests.

Hair Drug Tests

Health Street can detect benzodiazepines for up to 90 days back in our 9 panel (or higher) hair follicle drug tests.