Centrax is a prescription benzodiazepine medication. The generic name for the drug is prazepam. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs with depressant effects on the brain and central nervous system. Benzodiazepines are used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizure disorders and alcohol use disorder. Centrax is specifically given to patients to treat anxiety. Centrax has a relatively fast onset of action. This benzodiazepine also stays in the system for long periods of time, adding to its therapeutic value. For example, when the body metabolizes Centrax, it leaves behind a metabolite with a very long half-life of up to 224 hours.
Centrax is classified as a Schedule IV drug in the United States. As a Schedule IV drug, Centrax is available only by prescription and has the potential to be habit-forming, despite its medical applications. While there are risks associated with using any benzodiazepine, the side effects of Centrax tend to be less severe than other drugs in its class. Excessive drowsiness and fatigue are the most common side effects. Additionally, some people may also become addicted to or dependent upon the drug, especially with long-term use.
Centrax acts just like any other benzodiazepine drug as it interacts with GABA receptors. GABA is responsible for calming overexcited activity in the brain. By enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA, Centrax can help a person feel more calm and relaxed. Dopamine release and reward responses may also be triggered by the use of Centrax. The reward response triggered by the drug is what makes benzodiazepines potentially addictive. When the brain is repeatedly exposed to a stimulus that creates a reward response, the chances of addiction and drug dependence increase.
Centrax also depresses the central nervous system. Since it produces a calming effect, functions like respiration and cognition are slowed as a result. Someone who uses Centrax may seem to be impaired. They may have problems with walking, coordination and motor functions. Other signs of Centrax use or abuse can include slurred speech, confusion and short-term memory loss. The use of Centrax and drugs like it can be especially harmful to older adults. They are at a higher risk of falling and being involved in other accidents.
Some people find the effects of benzodiazepines like Centrax to be pleasurable. They may enjoy a slight sense of euphoria or deep relaxation. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are abused recreationally for these purposes, or to make people sleep. Another way benzodiazepines are used recreationally is when they’re combined with other substances. It’s very common to mix alcohol and benzodiazepines, which can result in extreme intoxication or sedation.
Both alcohol and a benzodiazepine drug like Centrax have similar effects. Both cause impairment, both have a tranquilizing effect, and both are central nervous system depressants. Mixing Centrax and alcohol can also allow more of the drug to reach the brain. When the two substances are combined, the effects of each are heightened. A person who mixes Centrax and alcohol may become so impaired that they are unable to function and are much more likely to harm themselves or others. Side effects associated with mixing these substances include decreased motor and mental function, feelings of depression and dizziness, psychosis, hallucinations or aggression. People who combine these substances are more likely to be involved in an accident as well.
Another possible outcome of mixing Centrax and alcohol is an overdose. Benzodiazepine use on its own rarely leads to overdose; however, combining multiple substances can result in this outcome. Both alcohol and Centrax depress the respiratory system, which can lead to a coma or death.
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Centrax (Prazepam) Withdrawal and Detox
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