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Sedative-hypnotics are xenobiotics that limit excitability (sedation), and/or induce drowsiness and sleep (hypnosis). Anxiolytics (formerly known as tranquilizers) are medications prescribed for their sedative-hypnotic properties. There are many different types of medications used to induce anxiolysis or sleep. This chapter focuses primarily on pharmaceuticals prescribed for their sedative-hypnotic effects, many of which interact with the γ-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptor (Table 74–1). Specific sedative-hypnotics such as ethanol and γ-hydroxybutyric acid are discussed in more depth in their respective chapters (Chaps. 77 and 80).

Table 74–1. Pharmacology of Sedative-Hypnotics

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