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In general, these medications are usually given intravenously when used for procedures in the emergency department (ED), with some exceptions for children (for more information, see Pediatrics, Sedation).Compared with other modes of administration, intravenous medications generally have a quick onset, have a predictable drug absorption, and are titratable.In nonintubated patients, the desired effect is found by titration until the desired effect is achieved.
Benzodiazepines differ by the methods they can be given, time of onset, action duration, mechanism of metabolism, and presence of active metabolites.
As mentioned earlier, their mechanism of action is seen clinically as anxiolysis, amnesia, and sedation; if a particular procedure is painful, these drugs must be given with analgesic agents.
The intravenous route is emphasized in the discussion below.
The benzodiazepines act by stimulating specific benzodiazepine receptors in the CNS.
Medications with different qualities are commonly coadministered to compensate for any shortcomings.