Types Of Benzodiazepines: Short, Intermediate, Long-Acting

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on December 29, 2021

There are many different benzodiazepine drugs. Some work faster, stay in the body longer, or are preferred for treating certain medical conditions. Here, you’ll find information about different types of benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine misuse, and treatment options.

Types Of Benzodiazepines

There are a wide range of benzodiazepines. While they all have chemical similarities, they are generally grouped according to their duration of action.

Types of benzodiazepines include:

  • short-acting benzodiazepines
  • intermediate-acting benzodiazepines
  • long-acting benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are a class of prescription drugs that may be used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal.

Short-Acting Benzodiazepines

Drugs that are short-acting typically have a short onset of effects, meaning they begin to take effect fairly quickly and don’t stay in the body very long.

Short-acting benzodiazepines include:

  • midazolam (Versed)
  • triazolam (Halcion)

Read more about short-acting benzodiazepines

Get Started On The Road To Recovery.

Get Confidential Help 24/7. Call Today!

(844) 616-3400

Intermediate-Acting Benzodiazepines

Intermediate-acting benzodiazepines also begin to take effect fairly quickly after use. This can make them helpful for relieving panic attacks, seizures, and sleeplessness.

Intermediate-acting benzodiazepines include:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • clobazam
  • nitrazepam
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)

Long-Acting Benzodiazepines

Long-acting drugs are slowly absorbed in the body. This means it takes a little longer for effects to occur, but when they do, they generally last longer.

Long-acting benzodiazepines include:

  • diazepam (Valium)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Lithium)
  • clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • flurazepam (Dalmane)

Read more about long-acting benzodiazepines

FAQs About Benzodiazepines

Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about different types of benzodiazepine drugs.

All benzodiazepines act on the brain in similar ways and produce similar effects. But they can also differ in some distinct ways, depending on whether they’re short- or long-acting.

Primary differences between benzodiazepines include:

  • onset of effects
  • duration of effects
  • strength of effects
  • formulation (e.g. tablet, liquid)
  • how long they stay in the system
  • addictive potential
  • severity of withdrawal symptoms
  • common uses

Despite their differences, benzodiazepine drugs are all classified as central nervous system depressants, which means they depress activity in the nervous system.

Other similarities include:

  • effects on the brain
  • physical side effects
  • risk of dependence
  • uses for medical and mental health conditions

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the top five prescribed benzodiazepine drugs in the United States are, in no particular order:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • diazepam (Valium)

Find More Information About Benzodiazepine Abuse And Addiction

Knowing the different types of benzodiazepines is one way to better understand and identify drug abuse in yourself or a loved one.

If someone you know is misusing benzodiazepines, call our helpline today for more information about benzodiazepine abuse, addiction, and treatment options.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on December 29, 2021
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400