Hypnotics are medications that cause sleep or partial loss of consciousness.
Hypnotics are prescribed for insomnia (difficulty sleeping). These drugs include benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines.
Hypnotics should only be taken under a doctor's direction. They may be unsafe when mixed with alcohol or with each other. Taking hypnotics with alcohol or with each other can lead to excessive drowsiness (sedation) and even death.
Review Date: 02/22/2010
Reviewed By: David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.