The term tranquilizers (minor tranquilizers) refers to psychotropic drugs that are used to treat states of anxiety and tension (Latin tranquillare = to calm).

They are also referred to as anxiolytics (anxiety relievers). The clinical tranquilizer effect is defined as the anxiety-relieving, calming and emotionally relaxing effects. The real “tranquilizer era” began with the benzodiazepines, which, thanks to their pharmacological advantages, still rank first among tranquillizers today.

Hypnotics are not a sharply defined group of drugs; rather, any drug that produces sleep is called a hypnotic. Benzodiazepines and the newer benzodiazepine receptor agonists/nonbenzodiazepines, such as zolpidem or eszopiclon, are among the most commonly prescribed hypnotics.1


1 Riederer & Laux. Fundamentals of neuro-psychopharmacology. SpringerViennaNewYork 2010, 362-374.