Simona Zaami, Silvia Graziano, Roberta Tittarelli, Renata Beck and Enrico Marinelli* Pages 1 - 9 ( 9 )
Benzodiazepines (BZDs) are a widely prescribed class of sedative-hypnotics compounds for the treatment of a broad range of conditions as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias, sleep-related problems associated with insomnia, and for the management of alcohol and GHB withdrawal. Zolpidem, zopiclone and zaleplon, commonly known as Z-drugs, are non-benzodiazepine hypnotic drugs with pharmacology similar to BDZs. Despite their usefulness, BDZs and Z-drugs present a potential for abuse and dependence. Moreover, the non-medical use of BDZs is a well-known phenomenon and represents an increasingly widespread public health problem since it is associated with an elevated risk of serious health consequences or fatal overdose, especially among specific group of users. The spectrum of BDZs and Z-drugs misuse is extended by new synthetic BDZs, which may pose high risks to users, since the majority have never undergone clinical trials or tests and consequently their pharmacology and toxicology are largely unknown.
BDZs, Z-drugs, new BDZs, diversion, abuse, misuse, pharmacology.
Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, National Centre on Addiction and Doping, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Department of Legal Medicine, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Foggia, Policlinico "AUO Riuniti", Foggia, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome