Definition

A benzodiazepine used in the treatment of anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia.

Description

Oxazepam is only found in individuals that have used or taken this drug. It is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine used to treat alcohol withdrawal and anxiety disorders. Similar to other benzodiazepines, oxazepam exerts its anxiolytic effects by potentiating the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on GABA-A receptors through a cooperative mechanism of action. GABA receptors are ionotropic chloride-linked channel receptors that produce inhibitory postsynaptic potentials. When activated by GABA, the GABA receptor/chloride ionophore complex undergoes a conformational change that allows the passage of chloride ions through the channel. Benzodiazepines are believed to exert their effect by increasing the effect of GABA at its receptor. Benzodiazepine binding increases chloride conductance in the presence of GABA by increasing the frequency at which the channel opens. In contrast, barbiturates increase chloride conductance in the presence of GABA by prolonging the time in which the channel remains open. There are 18 subtypes of the GABA receptor subunits. The α2 subunit of the α2β3γ2 receptor complex is thought to mediate anxiolytic effects while the α1 subunit of the α1β2γ2 receptor complex is thought to mediate sedative, anticonvulsant and anterograde amnesia effects. Oxazepam is also the metabolite of other benzodiazpines.

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Oxazepam Interacts with Genes