What are examples of sedatives and hypnotics?

Dr. Timothy W. Fong, MD

Some of the downsides of prescription sedative hypnotics can be: 

  • Memory impairment
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion 
  • Oversedation, where you can’t wake up the next morning 
  • Accidents

These potential side effects can be dangerous or deadly for the elderly. If you or your loved one is having these side effects, tell the doctor who has prescribed the medication.

Dr. Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine Specialist
Sedatives and hypnotics are drugs that include tranquilizer medications, which are used to treat anxiety, and sedatives (sleeping pills), which are used for insomnia. Some examples are benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin), as well as barbiturates, such as phenobarbital (Luminal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and amobarbital (Amytal). Ethanol, found in wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks, is the best known and modt widely used sedative hypnotic.

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