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shakn1212 t1_jefj089 wrote

If I remember correctly from my schooling and can translate this to ELI5.

Imagine drugs and neurotransmitters ( chemical signals) like keys and receptors as locks. When a drug fits the correct lock it opens the door and you see the drugs effect.

Benzos still function like this technically, but when it opens it's lock (a secondary lock), it works like adding WD-40 to the primary lock. Now the primary will open easier but it still needs it's key around.

In this case, the primary lock is where you get the serious problems like death.


carrot_bunny_dildo t1_jegf6eu wrote

So yeah that’s right. Benzodiazepines (BZD) are ‘allosteric modulators’ they don’t actually bind the GABA receptor site on the BZD receptor. Instead, BZD’s increase the affinity of the neurotransmitter GABA to bind at the BZD receptor. In other words, if there was no GABA neurotransmitters BZD’s would have no effect.
Additionally, administration on BZD causes rapid withdrawal of BZD receptors from the cell surface, which is another reason that likely increases their safety.