Ever since 1970s when diazepam (Valium) was popular, people have turned to tranquilizers to calm jittery nerves and combat insomnia. The medications in this class of drugs, known as “benzodiazepines,” have largely fallen out of favor primarily because they exert sedating effects that can prove dangerous. Still, benzodiazepines remain among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, and there are many “legacy” tranquilizer users who still rely on these drugs to calm the nerves and aid with sleep. This kind of use is discouraged, and tranquilizer users are urged to taper their usage and find alternate means of dealing with anxiety and sleeplessness. However, stopping these drugs suddenly can lead to seizures, so physician guidance is strongly advised. Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Ativan), should only be used on a short-term basis (two to three weeks at most). Long-term use can impair memory and may increase the risk of dementia in seniors.
If you’re regularly having trouble either falling or staying asleep, make an appointment with your doctor. In many cases an underlying medical or sleep disorder can be diagnosed and treated, a much more effective approach than just treating the symptom of insomnia itself. If you have questions regarding potential side effects or benefits of the medications you are taking, please consult our pharmacists at Med-Fast Pharmacy. We have 12 are locations to serve you, where we are proud of our reputation of serving the community with respect and care.