Benzodiazepines and the CNS – Sedative Hypnotics (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 Now let's think about benzodiazepines and the central nervous system or it's brain and spinal cord.

    00:06 The sedative hypnotics, they affect it by potentiating GABA in the brain.

    00:12 So the benzodiazepines take the GABA that's in your brain and they potentiate it.

    00:18 They make it more effective or stronger.

    00:20 So patients experience CNS effects from the sedation.

    00:23 If it's a little much for them, they're gonna kinda be in a stupor, gonna kinda blunt their reactions but the impact is dose dependent so the larger the dose, the more significant the impact.

    00:35 Also keep in mind, it does depend on the size of the patient and their exposure to these medications but effect will increase as the dose increases based on that patient's relative size.

    00:47 Now, we talked about the brain. What about the neuronal function? Well, it'll reduce anxiety in the limbic system and remember, the limbic system is the one that kinda turns on us and gets us all wired up.

    00:58 Now the cortical areas, that's sleep, wakefulness, and clock.

    01:02 These drugs, benzodiazepines, promote sleep there so sometimes they can be used for that.

    01:08 Now we look at the supraspinal motor area.

    01:11 These will induce muscle relaxation.

    01:14 Okay, well, think about that.

    01:16 We talked about using these medications for muscle spasms, for insomnia, and for anxiety.

    01:22 That kinda starts to make sense, the impact that they have on the central nervous system.

    01:27 Now you'll notice this says sleep driving end because people have been known to do some pretty bizarre things when they're on these medications.

    01:37 Sleep and then feel in the blank because they do not remember doing this.

    01:42 They do these complex behaviors and they have no memory while taking benzodiazepines.

    01:48 So they don't remember driving, cooking entire meals, eating them, or making phone calls which could be very serious depending on who they called and what they said.

    02:02 So benzodiazepine has these sleep complex behaviors and make you do things that you would think there is no way you don't remember calling me or you get up and the kitchen's a mess.

    02:15 You're thinking how can you not remember doing this but they truly can't.

    02:19 So it happens with patients particularly taking it for sleep-inducing doses.

    02:24 So patients who are taking benzodiazepines because of insomnia to help them sleep are actually at risk for this.

    02:31 So probably not a good idea to take this if you live alone.

    02:34 I would want to be -- if it was me, I would wanna have someone else with me in case I did something like this.

    02:41 And remember, risks increase if you combine a benzodiazepine with any other CNS depressant.

    02:48 That could be a medication or it could be alcohol. That's not a good idea.

    02:54 So before you mix medication with a benzodiazepine, and never under any circumstances should you drink alcohol with a benzodiazepine but before you drink -- before you mix another medication with that, you wanna make sure whoever is prescribing the benzodiazepine has a complete and entire list of all medications and supplements that you're taking including over-the-counter medications.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Benzodiazepines and the CNS – Sedative Hypnotics (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Central Nervous System (CNS) Medications (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Insomnia
    2. Anxiety
    3. Muscle spasm
    4. Hypotension
    5. Depression
    1. Memory of making calls
    2. Memory of friends
    3. Memory of peeing
    4. Memory of walking

    Author of lecture Benzodiazepines and the CNS – Sedative Hypnotics (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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