Sedative-Hypnotics: Introduction | Benzodiazepines | Barbiturates | Other Sedative-Hypnotic Compounds | General Considerations in the Pharmacological Treatment
of Insomnia | Conclusion | References
In this chapter, we examine some of the pharmacological properties
of benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other sedative-hypnotic compounds.
Sedative drugs moderate excitement, decrease activity, and induce
calmness, whereas hypnotic drugs produce drowsiness and facilitate the
onset and maintenance of a state that resembles normal sleep in
its electroencephalographic characteristics. Although these agents
are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, they usually produce
therapeutic effects at doses that are far lower than those that
cause coma and generalized depression of the CNS.