Among the most successful drugs ever introduced, benzodiazepines still dominate the tranquilizer market. However, they are perceived today to have major problems: they produce dose-related subjective sedation; psychomotor, cognitive, and memory impairment; paradoxical release of anxiety, anger, or hostility; rebound and withdrawal symptoms attending discontinuation even after therapeutic dosage; and increasingly common abuse, either alone or in a polydrug context. The last two adverse effects have occasioned the greatest concern over the last decade.
This concern is not confined to the specialist pharmacologist or psychiatrist or even to the medical profession at large. The general public's acute awareness of the problem is not surprising in view of the fact that one in five women and one in 10 men have used these tranquilizers at some time. The media have been extensively involved and, more recently, the legal profession have mounted what may prove to be the largest personal injury case in legal history, with thousands of claims launched by users of tranquilizers. This is the first detailed account available of all the controversial issues relating to the benzodiazepine tranquilizers. A respected group of international experts has been assembled by Dr. Cosmo Hallstrom to provide chapters on all the related aspects. The book is written at a level making the subject accessible to a wide audience, ranging from undergraduates to specialists in the area.
Table of Contents
1. Why People Take Benzodiazepines, M. Hamlin