Ethanolethyl Alcohol

Alcohol: Chemistry and Pharmacology

ETHCHLORVYNOL This is a complex alcohol that causes depression of the central nervous system (CNS). It is a SEDATIVE-HYPNOTIC drug typically used on a short-term basis to treat insomnia and is prescribed and sold under the name Placidyl. Because of its depressant effects on the brain, it can impair the mental and/or physical abilities necessary to operate machinery, such as an automobile.

Continued use of ethchlorvynol can result in Tolerance and Physical Dependence leading to abuse. Since the risk of abuse is not very great, it is included in Schedule IV of the CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES Act. Withdrawal signs, not unlike those seen after ALCOHOL (ethanol) or BARBITURATES, occur upon termination of its use in addicts. Ethchlorvynol should never be combined with other CNS depressants, such as ethanol or barbiturates, because their depressant effects are additive. Because of their greater safety, the widespread use of BENZODIAZEPINES as sedative/hypnotics has largely supplanted the use of ethchlorvynol.

(SEE ALSO: Withdrawal )


Hobbs, W. R., Rall, T.W., Verdoorn, T. A. (1996). Hypnotics and sedatives: Ethanol, 361-396. In J. G. Hardman, L. E. Limbird, P. B. Molinoff, R. W. Rud-don, A. G. Gilman (Eds.) The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott E. Lukas

ETHINAMATE This is a short-acting SEDATIVE-HYPNOTIC drug typically used to treat insomnia. It is prescribed and sold as Valmid. Structurally, it does not resemble the BARBITURATES, but it shares many effects with this class of drugs; the depressant effects of ethinamate are, however, generally milder than those of most barbiturates. Continued and inappropriate use of ethinamate can lead to Tolerance and Physical Dependence, with withdrawal symptoms very similar to those of the barbiturates. Because of their greater safety, the widespread use of BENZODIAZEPINES as sedative/ hypnotics has largely supplanted the use of ethinamate.

(SEE ALSO: Withdrawal)

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