Benzodiazepines

Being a psychoactive drug, benzodiazepine is being ordinarily utilized as a pharmaceutical for various panic and anxiety disorders, to fight insomnia, and generally, to “relieve nervousness and tension or improve sleep disturbances”, as well as to “relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as tremors” or “an an anticonvulsant or skeletal muscle relaxant” (Medicine Net Glossary, n.d.).

It goes without saying that no matter how good something, anything is, if used excessively or for a rather long period of time, it becomes the source of new worse problems, situations and conditions. The controversial aspect of benzodiazepine lies in the paradoxicality of effects that this medical phenomenon has in the long run. Most importantly, the controversial effects of this drug are not being viewed from the perspective of an overdose, which by the obviousness of the actual term implies the negative outcome and its immediateness.

First of all, the discussion continues about the negative effects of benzodiazepines in the context of pregnancy. According to the Q&A study on benzodiazepines and pregnancy conducted by OTIS (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists), “two studies have suggested a higher rate of preterm deliveries and low birth weight in infants when women take benzodiazepines during pregnancy” (OTIS, 2010). OTIS specialists stress the questionability of these researches, stating that there is a third research that has shown opposite results, namely, the absence of the negative effects from the revised drug during pregnancy.

However, the flow of information about this particular pharmaceutical being the deal breaker, so to speak, for the normal pregnancy cannot be ignored. Perhaps, it is possible to assume that benzodiazepines should not be perceived as major teratogens, however, the truth remains undeniable meaning that they still are teratogens, as for now they seem to increase the risk of cleft palate in newborns. The contribution of this particular drug to different infant syndromes, symptoms and abnormalities is yet to be studied more thoroughly, however, the present findings on the matter should spread awareness and enhance preventative measures among those, who do want to have healthy children.

It is known that benzodiazepine can pass through placenta to the baby, endangering the latter, and probably leading to an infant floppy syndrome, which hopefully “will wear off over a day or two” (Benzodiazepines Information on web-site of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Australia). The cases of withdrawal symptoms have also been observed, however, in both cases, such consequences are attributed to taking more medicine than it has been prescribed.

As for the effects that this drug may have on children, it is quite difficult to name some specific outcomes, as benzodiazepines are normally used in adult population. The matter of the fact is that benzodiazepines can be very addictive, as it is very strong kind of pharmaceutical. “Benzodiazepines act on the GABA receptor, which is the same receptor that ethanol acts on. Children who have a family history of alcoholism should not take benzodiazepines to treat anxiety” (Stannard, 2009).

Despite the fact that benzodiazepine is actually an “adult” drug, if we may say so, paradoxical …
Posted by: Albertina Lebron

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