Zolpidem tartrate, a common but potent sedative-hypnotic drug. Used for severe insomnia.
Le Vieux Séducteur by .
(A corrupt old man tries to seduce a woman by urging her to take a hypnotic draught in her drink)

To induce sleep (or surgical anesthesia ) and to treat insomnia (sleeplessness).

- Hypnotic

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Sleep disorder in which people have trouble sleeping.

A drawing of someone with insomnia from the 14th century
Potential complications of insomnia.
Normison (temazepam) is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

While sleeping pills may help, they are sometimes associated with injuries, dementia, and addiction.


Fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring.

Structural formula of benzodiazepines.
Midazolam 1 & 5 mg/mL injections (Canada)
Temazepam (Normison) 10 mg tablets
Addiction experts in psychiatry, chemistry, pharmacology, forensic science, epidemiology, and the police and legal services engaged in delphic analysis regarding 20 popular recreational drugs. Benzodiazepines were ranked in this graph 7th in dependence, physical harm, and social harm.
Diazepam 2 mg and 5 mg diazepam tablets, which are commonly used in the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Chlordiazepoxide 5 mg capsules, which are sometimes used as an alternative to diazepam for benzodiazepine withdrawal. Like diazepam it has a long elimination half-life and long-acting active metabolites.
Schematic diagram of the (α1)2(β2)2(γ2) GABAA receptor complex that depicts the five-protein subunits that form the receptor, the chloride (Cl−) ion channel pore at the center, the two GABA active binding sites at the α1 and β2 interfaces and the benzodiazepine (BZD) allosteric binding site at the α1 and γ2 interface.
Left: The 1,4-benzodiazepine ring system. Right: 5-phenyl-1H-benzo[e] [1,4]diazepin-2(3H)-one forms the skeleton of many of the most common benzodiazepine pharmaceuticals, such as diazepam (7-chloro-1-methyl substituted).
A pharmacophore model of the benzodiazepine binding site on the GABAA receptor. White sticks represent the carbon atoms of the benzodiazepine diazepam, while green represents carbon atoms of the nonbenzodiazepine CGS-9896. Red and blue sticks are oxygen and nitrogen atoms that are present in both structures. The red spheres labeled H1 and H2/A3 are, respectively, hydrogen bond donating and accepting sites in the receptor, while L1, L2, and L3 denote lipophilic binding sites.
The molecular structure of chlordiazepoxide, the first benzodiazepine. It was marketed by Hoffmann–La Roche from 1960 branded as Librium.
Xanax (alprazolam) 2 mg tri-score tablets

Benzodiazepines are depressants that enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABAA receptor, resulting in sedative, hypnotic (sleep-inducing), anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties.

Chloral hydrate

Geminal diol with the formula C2H3Cl3O2.

The generic geminal diol. The 'R's represent any groups other than OH.

It has limited use as a sedative and hypnotic pharmaceutical drug.

Drug overdose

Ingestion or application of a drug or other substance in quantities much greater than are recommended.

A photograph showing a person who had overdosed
Timeline of US drug overdose death rates by race and ethnicity. Rate per 100,000 population.
Activated carbon is a commonly used agent for decontamination of the gastrointestinal tract in overdoses.
U.S. yearly overdose deaths from all drugs.<ref name="NIDA-deaths">Overdose Death Rates. And {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20151128091723/http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates |date=2015-11-28}}. By National Institute on Drug Abuse.</ref>
U.S. yearly overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines.<ref name="NIDA-deaths" />
U.S. yearly overdose deaths involving cocaine.<ref name="NIDA-deaths" />
U.S. yearly overdose deaths involving heroin.<ref name="NIDA-deaths" />
U.S. overdose deaths involving all opioids. Deaths per 100,000 population.<ref name=CDC-opioids>Opioid Data Analysis and Resources. Drug Overdose. CDC Injury Center. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click on "Rising Rates" tab for a graph. See data table below the graph.</ref>
U.S. yearly deaths involving prescription opioids. is a category dominated by illegally acquired fentanyl, and has been excluded.<ref name="NIDA-deaths" />
US yearly overdose deaths, and the drugs involved. Among the 70,200 deaths in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs with 28,466 deaths.<ref name=NIDA-deaths/>

Among sedative-hypnotics (F13)

Substance dependence

Biopsychological situation whereby an individual's functionality is dependent on the necessitated re-consumption of a psychoactive substance because of an adaptive state that has developed within the individual from psychoactive substance consumption that results in the experience of withdrawal and that necessitates the re-consumption of the drug.<ref name="NHM terms-DSM flaw"> A drug addiction, a distinct concept from substance dependence, is defined as compulsive, out-of-control drug use, despite negative consequences.

Mental health as a risk factor for illicit drug dependency or abuse.

304.10 Sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic dependence (including benzodiazepine dependence and barbiturate dependence)


A variety of methaqualone pills and capsules.

Methaqualone is a sedative and hypnotic medication.


Substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement.

This group is related to hypnotics.


Not to be confused with Paresthesia and Anesthetic.

The anesthetic area of an operating room
A vaporizer holds a liquid anesthetic and converts it to gas for inhalation (in this case sevoflurane)
Syringes prepared with medications that are expected to be used during an operation under general anesthesia maintained by sevoflurane gas:
 – Propofol, a hypnotic
 – Ephedrine, in case of hypotension
 – Fentanyl, for analgesia
 – Atracurium, for neuromuscular blockade
 – Glycopyrronium bromide (here under trade name "Robinul"), reducing secretions
An anesthetic machine with integrated systems for monitoring of several vital parameters.
A patient-controlled analgesia infusion pump, configured for epidural administration of fentanyl and bupivacainefor postoperative analgesia
Anesthesia-related deaths by ASA status
Hua Tuo
Sir Humphry Davy's Researches chemical and philosophical: chiefly concerning nitrous oxide (1800), pp. 556 and 557 (right), outlining potential anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide in relieving pain during surgery.
Contemporary re-enactment of Morton's 16 October 1846, ether operation; daguerrotype by Southworth & Hawes
Morton's ether inhaler

The types of drugs used include general anesthetics, local anesthetics, hypnotics, dissociatives, sedatives, adjuncts, neuromuscular-blocking drugs, narcotics, and analgesics.


State in which a living individual exhibits a complete, or near-complete, inability to maintain an awareness of self and environment or to respond to any human or environmental stimulus.

Jean-Martin Charcot demonstrating hypnosis on a "hysterical" Salpêtrière patient, "Blanche" (Marie Wittman), who is supported by Joseph Babiński.
Person passed out on a sidewalk in New York City, 2008

Unconsciousness may occur as the result of traumatic brain injury, brain hypoxia (inadequate oxygen, possibly due to a brain infarction or cardiac arrest), severe intoxication with drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system (e.g., alcohol and other hypnotic or sedative drugs), severe fatigue, pain, anaesthesia, and other causes.


Drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant.

Barbituric acid, the parent structure of all barbiturates
Addiction experts in psychiatry, chemistry, pharmacology, forensic science, epidemiology, and the police and legal services engaged in delphic analysis regarding 20 popular recreational drugs. Barbiturates were ranked third in physical harm, fourth in social harm, and fifth in dependence.
Generic structure of a barbiturate, including numbering scheme

Barbiturates are effective as anxiolytics, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants, but have physical and psychological addiction potential as well as overdose potential among other possible adverse effects.