Drugs and Society - Vol. 3

Drugs and Society - Vol. 3

Drugs and Society - Vol. 3

Drugs and Society - Vol. 3

Excerpt

Paraldehyde

Paraldehyde was one of the earliest sedatives to enter medical use. Its effects are similar to those of the barbiturates and benzodiazepines that have replaced its use in surgery and the treatment of agitation and seizures.

Paraldehyde entered medical usage as a sedative in the late nineteenth century. It provided a safer alternative to the bromide salts and chloral hydrate that until then had been the alternative sedatives to alcohol and opium. Paraldehyde was notably useful in calming mentally ill patients whose condition made them agitated or aggressive, and it made the use of physical restraints redundant in most cases. Other applications included the induction of sleep and the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

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