Barbiturates are nonselective CNS depressants that used to be the mainstay of treatment to sedate patients or to induce and maintain sleep.In modern medicine they have been largely replaced by the benzodiazepines, primarily because they can induce tolerance, physical dependence and serious withdrawal symptoms.The representatives of this group are: Nonbenzodiazepine “Z-drugs” sedative-hypnotics are drugs that differ in structure from benzodiazepines, but acts on a subset of the benzodiazepine receptor family known as BZ1.Antihistamines are classified into two groups – the first-generation (“sedating”) and second-generation (“non-sedating”).By binding to specific subunits of GABA Benzodiazepines are on the Beer’s List of potentially inappropriate medications for older patients.
Most work equally well to relieve depression, so choosing the right one generally involves subtle differences.
In the first part of the 20th century, the pharmacotherapy of anxiety and insomnia relied on barbiturates, which were replaced with benzodiazepines as drugs of choice in the second part of the previous century.
Besides those two groups of drugs, other sedatives are also used for that purpose.
Medications used in the treatment of insomnia include nonbenzodiazepine receptor agonists, benzodiazepine receptor agonists, the selective melatonin receptor agonist ramelteon, and sedating antidepressants.
All can be considered first-line agents for insomnia; agent choice is largely dictated by past trials, cost, side-effect profile, drug interactions, and patient preference.
Antidepressants are a popular treatment choice for those with depression.
Although antidepressants may not cure depression, they can reduce your symptoms. But if it doesn't relieve your symptoms, or it causes side effects that bother you, you may need to try another.
Sedatives can be misused to produce an overly-calming effect (alcohol being the classic and most common sedating drug).
In the event of an overdose or if combined with another sedative, many of these drugs can cause unconsciousness (see hypnotic) and even death.
There is some overlap between the terms "sedative" and "hypnotic".
Advances in pharmacology have permitted more specific targeting of receptors, and greater selectivity of agents, which necessitates greater precision when describing these agents and their effects: Doctors often administer sedatives to patients in order to dull the patient's anxiety related to painful or anxiety-provoking procedures.