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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


benzodiazepine  listen  (BEN-zoh-dy-A-zeh-peen)

  A type of drug used to relieve anxiety and insomnia (trouble sleeping). Benzodiazepines are also used to relax muscles and prevent seizures. They increase the effect of a chemical in the brain called GABA, which is a neurotransmitter (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another). This causes brain activity to slow down. Benzodiazepines are a type of CNS depressant.