Harvard Mental Health Letter

Benzodiazepines (and the alternatives)

With the introduction of benzodiazepines such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and diazepam (Valium) in the early 1960s, a new era in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety began. The benzodiazepines were more effective and far safer than the older drugs barbiturates, meprobamate, and glutethimide that had been prescribed for these purposes. For many years, benzodiazepines continued to be the most popular prescription tranquilizers and sedatives. Since the mid-1980s, new alternatives have been assuming…

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