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They also have hypnotic, anticonvulsant and muscle-relaxing activities, but do not exhibit analgesic action or antipsychotic activity.
The representatives of this group are: Nonbenzodiazepine “Z-drugs” sedative-hypnotics are drugs that differ in structure from benzodiazepines, but acts on a subset of the benzodiazepine receptor family known as BZ1.
In modern medicine they have been largely replaced by the benzodiazepines, primarily because they can induce tolerance, physical dependence and serious withdrawal symptoms.
Sedatives encompass a wide variety of drugs with different mechanisms of action that can induce depression of the central nervous system (CNS).
In the first part of the 20th century, the pharmacotherapy of anxiety and insomnia relied on barbiturates, which were replaced with benzodiazepines as drugs of choice in the second part of the previous century.
Their onset of action is rapid, and they are considered the preferred hypnotics as they do not significantly alter the various sleep stages due to their relative selectivity for the aforementioned receptor.
The representatives of this group are: Certain antihistamines with sedating properties (also known as first-generation antihistamines) are effective in treating mild forms of insomnia, although numerous undesirable side effects (such as their anticholinergic properties) make them less useful in comparison with benzodiazepines.
Their main benefit is they primarily affect peripheral histamine receptors and therefore are less sedating.