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Have you been feeling restless and nervous for days? Have you been wondering whether tranquillisers are an option for a while and would like to find out more about taking them, the scientific background and the necessary criteria for buying tranquillisers? Then you've come to the right place.

We are pleased that you have found your way to our large calming tablet test 2021. We will provide you with all the information you need about calming tablets.




Summary

  • There are herbal and non-herbal tranquillisers.
  • Non-herbal sedatives require a prescription and can have side effects.
  • Sedatives should never be taken with alcohol.

The Best Calming Tablets: Our Choices

Calming tablets: What you need to know

Tranquillisers, or sedatives in medical terms, are drugs that have a depressant effect on the brain. There are many different types of sedatives: a distinction is made between herbal and pharmaceutical sedatives. While the herbal sedatives are harmless, one should be careful and well-informed about the non-herbal medicines.

Beruhigungstabletten-1

Sedatives are mainly used for restlessness as well as for mental illnesses such as sleep or anxiety disorders.
(Image source: Unsplash / @halgatewood)

What are herbal calming tablets?

Herbal ingredients include: Valerian, hops, St John's wort, lemon balm and passion flower. Medicines based on herbal origin are called phytopharmaceuticals. They are an integral part of the range of therapies and are also frequently used in self-medication. There is no scientific evidence available for the proof of efficacy that meets the current requirements for proof of efficacy. (1)

What are non-herbal calming tablets?

Non-herbal tranquillisers belong to the group of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are considered to be anxiety-relieving and sleep-inducing drugs.

The best-known active ingredient of the benzodiazepines is diazepam, marketed under the trade name Valium ®.

Diazepam is usually used as a sleeping pill for people with acute anxiety or tension. There are several benzodiazepines, which differ in their onset and duration of action. Benzodiazepines include the active ingredients diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam and oxazepam. Benzodiazepines can be addictive and lead to habituation (tolerance). (2)

But it is not only because of the habituation effect that these drugs should be treated with caution: A study by the researcher Geneviève Belleville came to the conclusion that the consumption of sleeping pills and tranquillisers is associated with a small but significant increase in the risk of mortality. There are several explanations for this connection: For example, the drugs can slow down reaction time and limit coordination, which is why falls and other accidents are favoured. They also have a depressant effect on the respiratory system, which can worsen some breathing problems during sleep. The influence on the central nervous system, whereby they can affect judgement and increase the risk of suicide, is also a possible explanation. (3)

When are calming tablets used?

Sedatives are mainly used in cases of restlessness, nervousness and mental illnesses such as sleep or anxiety disorders. Often, an additional form of therapy is also recommended, for example psychotherapy.

Beruhigungstabletten-2

Hops are a natural sedative
(Image source: Unsplash / @markusspiske)

How are calming tablets used?

Sedatives are usually taken orally in the form of tablets, coated tablets or syrup. They should not be taken for more than two weeks at a time. After four weeks, there is a risk of dependence. (4)

Do calming tablets require a prescription?

Not all sedative tablets require a prescription. Herbal medicines are usually available without a prescription and non-herbal medicines require a prescription depending on the dosage.

Decision: What types of calming tablets are there and which are right for you?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of herbal tranquillisers?

Advantages
  • No prescription required

  • Inexpensive
  • Natural ingredients
  • No dependence, No side effects
Disadvantages
  • Effect not proven, possibly too weak

What are the advantages and disadvantages of non-herbal tranquillisers?

Advantages
  • Strong effect

  • effect proven
Disadvantages
  • Prescription required
  • Expensive
  • Addictive, side effects possible

(2, 3, 4, 5)

How do tranquillisers work?

The most important group of sedatives are the benzodiazepines. They exert their effect on the GABA-A receptor and thus enhance the calming, depressant effects of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain (6)

Herbal sedatives

Medicines containing the active ingredients of valerian roots, hop cones, lemon balm leaves and passionflower herb have a sedative or anxiolytic effect according to clinical studies. The time it takes to fall asleep was shortened and the quality of sleep and life was improved. The exact mechanisms of action of hops, lemon balm and passion flower have not yet been proven. However, substances have been identified in valerian extracts that have sedative and sleep-promoting effects in animal studies. Initial research suggests that the substance binds to a receptor in humans, so that the sleep-promoting effect of adenosine, a neuromodulator, works better. (7)

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are the most important group of sedatives. The active ingredient docks in the brain at the GABA-A receptors and thus enhances the effect of the sedative neurotransmitter GABA. A distinction is made between benzodiazepines with long, medium and short half-lives and with and without active metabolites. These two factors determine how long a substance is effective. (6)

Beta-receptor blockers

Beta-receptor blockers have been used clinically for 25 years and are generally accepted for their therapeutic efficacy. (8) Beta blockers inhibit the effect of the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. They lower the heart rate and blood pressure. Therefore, they are primarily used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias. But they are also used for stress and anxiety states.

Non-benzodiazepine tranquillisers: buspirone

Buspirone is a drug that has an anti-anxiety effect but does not have a sedative effect. It is an alternative to other tranquillisers and, according to research to date, does not produce dependence. Buspirone is mainly used to treat generalised anxiety disorder. (9) In contrast to the benzodiazepines, the effect does not occur immediately, but only after two or more weeks of regular use.

Beruhigungstabletten-3

Anxiety states and disorders can be so debilitating that the patient's everyday life is massively restricted.
(Image source: Unsplash / @cferdo)

For whom are calming tablets useful?

Sedatives should only be taken with caution and offer relief in urgent cases. It should also be noted that the medication may not be compatible with other substances such as alcohol or nicotine.

How much do calming tablets cost?

The medicines cost between 15 and 50 euros. This price varies depending on the product and the amount.

What are the side effects of calming tablets?

Depending on the active ingredient, the following side effects may occur:

  • Drowsiness and sleepiness;
  • Increased risk of, for example, falls and broken bones;
  • Impaired judgement, dexterity and reaction time, which also increases the risk of accidents on the road;
  • Impaired concentration, forgetfulness, confusion, memory lapses and dementia-like symptoms;
  • Paradoxical effects such as disinhibition, increased risk-taking or states of agitation with increased anxiety or insomnia;
  • Physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as seizures (in case of abrupt discontinuation), anxiety, agitation or dizziness and confusion.

Mixed use with other substances can also have negative consequences.

Especially the combination of benzodiazepines with other drugs (for example antidepressants or opioids) or with alcohol can impair breathing and increase the risk of respiratory arrest. The effect of mixed consumption is strongly dependent on the combination as well as on the individual factors of the person. (10)

What are the alternatives to tranquillisers?

Those who do not want to take substances can also try meditation, autogenic training or muscle relaxation. Psychotherapeutic treatment can also help in less acute cases.

Facts worth knowing about calming tablets?

What is the shelf life of calming tablets?

The shelf life of medicines is always stated on the packaging. In Germany, it is regulated by law that all medicines may have a maximum shelf life of five years.

Can I take tranquillisers if I drink alcohol?

Sedatives do not mix well with alcohol and there can be dangerous interactions between alcohol and the medication. Therefore, patients taking tranquillisers should not drink alcohol.

Photo source: Dmytro/ 123rf.com

References (10)

1. Hänsel R. (1999) Wirkung, Wirksamkeit und Risiken pflanzlicher Arzneimittel. In: Pharmakognosie — Phytopharmazie. Springer-Lehrbuch. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Source

2. "Bei Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmitteln handelt es sich häufig um Benzodiazepine oder den Benzodiazepinen ähnlichen Medikamente (sog. Z-Mittel), für die bei einer regelmässigen Einnahme über einen längeren Zeitraum die Gefahr der Entwicklung einer Abhängigkeit besteht" Gmel Gerhard, Notari Luca, Christiane Gmel (2015). Suchtmonitoring Schweiz: Einnahme von psychoaktiven und anderen Medikamenten in der Schweiz im Jahr 2013. Sucht Schweiz, Lausanne Schweiz
Source

3. Belleville, G. (2010). Mortality Hazard Associated with Anxiolytic and Hypnotic Drug Use in the National Population Health Survey. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(9), 558–567.
Source

4. "Die genannten Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel sollten nur nach sorgfältiger Diagnose eingesetzt werden. Alternative Möglichkeiten sind bei einer Verschreibung zu prüfen und Vor- und Nachteile gewissenhaft abzuwägen. So sind beispielsweise bei Schlafstörungen die zugrundeliegenden Ursachen zu behandeln. Eine Einnahme länger als vier Wochen wird in der Regel nicht empfohlen." Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Source

5. Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Source

6. Elbert T., Rockstroh B. (1990) Angst, Benzodiazepine und der Neurotransmitter GABA. In: Psychopharmakologie. Springer-Lehrbuch. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Source

7. Unger, M. (2007), Pflanzliche Sedativa: Neue Aspekte zu altbewährten Arzneipflanzen. Pharmazie in unserer Zeit, 36: 206-212. doi:10.1002/pauz.200600219
Source

8. Hjalmarson Å., Herlitz J., Waagstein F. (1990) Behandlung der Myokardischämie mit Betablockern. In: Heusch G. (eds) Pathophysiologie und rationale Pharmakotherapie der Myokardischämie. Steinkopff
Source

9. Joseph A. GiovannittiJr., Matthew R. Cooke, in Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Dentistry (Seventh Edition), 2017
Source

10. Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Source

Why you can trust me?

Veröffentlichung "Wirkung, Wirksamkeit und Risiken pflanzlicher Arzneimittel"
Hänsel R. (1999) Wirkung, Wirksamkeit und Risiken pflanzlicher Arzneimittel. In: Pharmakognosie — Phytopharmazie. Springer-Lehrbuch. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Go to source
Forschungsbericht "Suchtmonitoring Schweiz: Einnahme von psychoaktiven und anderen Medikamenten in der Schweiz im Jahr 2013"
"Bei Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmitteln handelt es sich häufig um Benzodiazepine oder den Benzodiazepinen ähnlichen Medikamente (sog. Z-Mittel), für die bei einer regelmässigen Einnahme über einen längeren Zeitraum die Gefahr der Entwicklung einer Abhängigkeit besteht" Gmel Gerhard, Notari Luca, Christiane Gmel (2015). Suchtmonitoring Schweiz: Einnahme von psychoaktiven und anderen Medikamenten in der Schweiz im Jahr 2013. Sucht Schweiz, Lausanne Schweiz
Go to source
Studie, erschienen in "The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry"
Belleville, G. (2010). Mortality Hazard Associated with Anxiolytic and Hypnotic Drug Use in the National Population Health Survey. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(9), 558–567.
Go to source
Ratgeber des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit
"Die genannten Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel sollten nur nach sorgfältiger Diagnose eingesetzt werden. Alternative Möglichkeiten sind bei einer Verschreibung zu prüfen und Vor- und Nachteile gewissenhaft abzuwägen. So sind beispielsweise bei Schlafstörungen die zugrundeliegenden Ursachen zu behandeln. Eine Einnahme länger als vier Wochen wird in der Regel nicht empfohlen." Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Go to source
Ratgeber des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit
Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Go to source
Publikation "Angst, Benzodiazepine und der Neurotransmitter GABA"
Elbert T., Rockstroh B. (1990) Angst, Benzodiazepine und der Neurotransmitter GABA. In: Psychopharmakologie. Springer-Lehrbuch. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Artikel "Pflanzliche Sedativa: Neue Aspekte zu altbewährten Arzneipflanzen"
Unger, M. (2007), Pflanzliche Sedativa: Neue Aspekte zu altbewährten Arzneipflanzen. Pharmazie in unserer Zeit, 36: 206-212. doi:10.1002/pauz.200600219
Go to source
Publikation: "Pathophysiologie und rationale Pharmakotherapie der Myokardischämie"
Hjalmarson Å., Herlitz J., Waagstein F. (1990) Behandlung der Myokardischämie mit Betablockern. In: Heusch G. (eds) Pathophysiologie und rationale Pharmakotherapie der Myokardischämie. Steinkopff
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel: "Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Dentistry"
Joseph A. GiovannittiJr., Matthew R. Cooke, in Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Dentistry (Seventh Edition), 2017
Go to source
Ratgeber des Schweizerischen Bundesamt für Gesundheit
Webseite des Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit mit dem Thema Psychoaktive Schlaf- und Beruhigungsmittel
Go to source
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