Abuse and dependence liability of benzodiazepine-type drugs: GABAA receptor modulation and beyond

McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, United States.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.82). 08/2008; 90(1):74-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbb.2008.01.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Over the past several decades, benzodiazepines and the newer non-benzodiazepines have become the anxiolytic/hypnotics of choice over the more readily abused barbiturates. While all drugs from this class act at the GABA(A) receptor, benzodiazepine-type drugs offer the clear advantage of being safer and better tolerated. However, there is still potential for these drugs to be abused, and significant evidence exists to suggest that this is a growing problem. This review examines the behavioral determinants of the abuse and dependence liability of benzodiazepine-type drugs. Moreover, the pharmacological and putative biochemical basis of the abuse-related behavior is discussed.

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