The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why (in the US and UK) is diphenhydramine legal and zolpidem is not?  (Read 259 times)

Offline Pseudoscience-is-malarkey

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 96
    • View Profile
Let me break it down.

Here in the United States diphenhydramine is marketed as Benadryl, which can be purchased without a prescription. Zolpidem is marketed as Ambien and requires
an iron class script. Color me confused. I feel like they have they have the same effects.
« Last Edit: 14/10/2016 20:15:39 by Pseudoscience-is-malarkey »


 

Offline chiralSPO

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1879
  • Thanked: 145 times
    • View Profile
It's because zolpidem carries significant dependency and addiction potential while diphenhydramine does not. Also there is a significant potential for abuse of zolpidem (even recommended/prescribed doses can cause hallucinations and euphoria). In contrast one would need to take >10 times the recommended dose of diphenhydramine to have any hallucinations. At these doses there is substantial toxic effect as well, and the experience is quite dysphoric. (I know a few people who tried "tripping" on diphenhydramine, and none of them ever wanted to try the experience again--one of them ended up in the hospital--I would not recommend this experiment).

There is also a significant pharmacological difference. Diphenhydramine is primarily an antihistamine, but at larger doses it also affects the acetylcholine systems (I believe muscarinic, but it may also be nicotinic). In contrast, zolpidem acts primarily on the GABAergic pathways in the brain (similar to alcohol and benzodiazepines). In short, totally different pharmacology with totally different effects, and therefore totally different controls in place.
« Last Edit: 13/10/2016 14:43:53 by chiralSPO »
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8669
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
It may be relevant that a government advisor on legality of drugs was sacked for saying that the legal classifications should be related to the actual harm done.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Nutt#Dismissal
 

Offline chiralSPO

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1879
  • Thanked: 145 times
    • View Profile
I will agree that a significant portion of the federal drug classifications (I can only speak to those in the US) are totally unsupportable scientifically. You can tell it's a ruse when almost half of the states have medicinal cannabis programs and the federal classification is Schedule 1 (which means that there is "no accepted medical use") and they just declined to reschedule when it was challenged this year. Even cocaine is schedule 2. There are also terrible shackles placed on the scientific and medical research communities with respect to drugs, especially with psychedelics and cannabis. I suspect that there are many incredible discoveries and cures that remain out of reach due to poor regulations on the research.

I would say, however, that zolpidem should definitely require a prescription (based on my personal experience with it)
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums