Pronunciation: hal-AZ-eh-pam

Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number: 23092-17-3 Formal Names: Paxipam

Type: Depressant (benzodiazepine class). See page 21 Federal Schedule Listing: Schedule IV (DEA no. 2762) USA Availability: Prescription Pregnancy Category: D

Uses. Halazepam's main medical usage is for reducing anxiety. Because the drug promotes drowsiness, it is sometimes prescribed to be taken at bedtime, aiding both sleep and calmness. One experiment found the compound to be more effective than clorazepate dipotassium in helping anxiety. Another study found that halazepam can diminish anxiety significantly on the very first day of administration. Halazepam is also used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and has had some experimental success in alleviating schizophrenic psychoses. Physicians have observed that halazepam can reduce stress and depression and can improve epilepsy. An experiment found that halazepam did not increase belligerence, unlike some benzodiazepine class drugs. Canine studies show that in the body the drug converts into nordiazepam and oxazepam, which are also metabolites of diazepam.

Drawbacks. The compound can reduce saliva output. With stronger dosages elderly persons sometimes experience difficulty in manual dexterity and other muscle control; during an experiment several elderly individuals fell. In certain kinds of tests mice exhibit memory trouble after the drug is given.

Abuse factors. In an experiment some alcoholics had difficulty distinguishing halazepam from placebo, an outcome suggesting that the drug has low potential for abuse (as abusers of alcohol and other drugs should be particularly susceptible). Nonetheless, a person's body can develop physical dependence with halazepam, which is a traditional sign of addictive potential. One group of researchers found withdrawal symptoms to be so mild, however, that a placebo could control them.

Drug interactions. The heartburn medicine cimetidine is suspected of interfering with halazepam's effects.

Cancer. No cancer developed in rats and mice at daily dosage levels 5 to 50 times the maximum human dose.

Pregnancy. Experiments with rats and rabbits have produced no evidence that the drug causes birth defects.

Additional scientific information may be found in:

Fann, W.E., W.M. Pitts, and J.C. Wheless. "Pharmacology, Efficacy, and Adverse Effects of Halazepam, a New Benzodiazepine." Pharmacotherapy 2 (1982): 72-79.

Fann, W.E., B.W. Richman, and W.M. Pitts. "Halazepam in the Treatment of Recurrent Anxiety Attacks in Chronically Anxious Outpatients: A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study." Current Therapeutic Research: Clinical and Experimental 32 (1982): 906-10.

Griffiths, R.R., and B. Wolf. "Relative Abuse Liability of Different Benzodiazepines in Drug Abusers." Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 10 (1990): 237-43.

"Halazepam (Paxipam)—Another Benzodiazepine." Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics 24 (1982): 50.

Jaffe, J.H., et al. "Abuse Potential of Halazepam and of Diazepam in Patients Recently Treated for Acute Alcohol Withdrawal." Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 34 (1983): 623-30.

Pecknold, J.C., et al. "Controlled Comparative Study of Halazepam in Anxiety." Current Therapeutic Research: Clinical and Experimental 32 (1982): 895-905.

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