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Sedatives – the benefits and risks

Almost 80% of Russians today live in constant stress, experts say [1]. Anxiety, irritability, irritability, chronic sleep disturbances are the most frequent manifestations of everyday psycho-emotional overload, with complaints to which people refer to the pharmacy.

The appearance of these symptoms suggests that compensatory-adaptive mechanisms (body reactions that help it adapt to harmful factors and restore impaired functions. – Editor’s note.), Provide protection against pathogenic (pathogenic. – Editor’s note.) Effects of stress factors. on the body, working at the limit of their capabilities. If they finally give up, then serious health problems can not be avoided. There is no such system of organs on which constant stress would not have a negative impact …

What does a pharmacy offer?
The range of drugs that can be used for certain manifestations of stress, today is quite wide. Among them, a special place is occupied by both herbal remedies and combined medicinal products containing, in addition to herbal ingredients, the active substance of chemical origin. They are available without a prescription, which means that they are available to each patient.
Phytopreparations to combat the effects of everyday stress (in the form of tablets, capsules, syrups, etc.) are in great demand, which is largely supported by the conviction that such products are safe and in their effectiveness are not inferior to traditional medicines. Alas, it is impossible to fully agree with this statement.

First, side effects: allergic reactions, digestive disorders, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, etc. – With a course of treatment with soothing herbal remedies are not so rare.

Secondly, herbal preparations are characterized by a slow development of the therapeutic effect [2], reaching its maximum only a few weeks after the start of administration. To eliminate this drawback allows the use of drugs that contain in their composition and chemically synthesized component, in the role of which active substances such as phenobarbital, doxylamine or diphenhydramyl (more commonly known as diphenhydramine) often act. However, they cannot be considered interchangeable …

Everyone knows, for example, that diphenhydramine and doxylamine, belonging to the group of antihistamines, have a sedative and hypnotic effect. This significantly limits the possibility of using drugs containing these substances in the treatment of the effects of stress, which is characterized by a rather large variability of symptoms, and not just sleep disorders. In addition, the use of Dimedrol-containing drugs in conjunction with other means of central action is fraught with the development of such unexpected complications as insomnia, increased nervousness, impaired attention, which can worsen the state of health [3]. The same undesirable manifestations, along with a number of other serious side effects from the central nervous system: anterograde amnesia (impaired memory of events that occurred after the traumatic effect, in this case, after taking the drug. – Ed.), Psychomotor disorders (motor disorders action – Ed.), nightmares, paralytic intestinal obstruction, etc., as well as other organ systems may occur when taking drugs containing doxylamine [4].
Good old phenobarbital
Phenobarbital as an active active ingredient has been known to doctors for over a hundred years. It was used by our parents, grandparents and great-great-great-grandmothers. First synthesized in 1911 by the famous German chemist Emil Fischer, he is still actively used in clinical practice and does not lose its popularity, despite all attempts to discredit him.

By the way, not everyone understands the difference between a drug and an active ingredient. The active active ingredient is a chemical or biological substance that provides the specific therapeutic effect of the drug. The active ingredients of medicinal products are known by international non-proprietary names, the so-called INN, recommended by the World Health Organization. It is the INN that the doctor specifies in writing out the prescription for the patient. Thus, phenobarbital is a part of such popular drugs as Corvalol and Valoserdin.

A drug can contain one active ingredient, but it can be several, then it is called a combination. Along with the active substance, the drug usually contains excipients and fillers.

Phenobarbital, like any chemical, can be toxic and have side effects. That is why it is not used in pure form, but “diluted” with auxiliary substances. For example, Corvalol includes, in addition to phenobarbital, alpha-bromoisovaleric acid ester, peppermint oil, caustic soda, ethyl alcohol, and valoserdine, along with peppermint oil, also contains hop oil.

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