Also Known As: Meprobamate , Equanil, Meprobamate, Miltown
Meprobamate (marketed under the brand names Miltown by Wallace Laboratories, Equanil by Wyeth, and Meprospan) is a carbamate derivative which is used as an anxiolytic drug. It was the best-selling minor tranquilizer for a time, but has largely been replaced by the benzodiazepines.
Meprobamate is licensed for the short-term relief of anxiety, although it is not known whether the purported anti-anxiety effects of meprobamate are separable from its sedative effects. Its effectiveness as a selective agent for the treatment of anxiety has not been proven in humans, and is not used as often as the benzodiazepines for this purpose.
Meprobamate is available in 200 mg and 400 mg tablets for oral administration. Meprobamate is also a component of the combination drug Equagesic (discontinued in the UK in 2002) acting as a muscle relaxant.
Meprobamate is also found as a component of the combination drug "Stopayne" capsules.
Although it was marketed as being safer, meprobamate has most of the pharmacological effects and dangers of the barbiturates (though it is less sedating at effective doses). It is reported to have some anticonvulsant properties against absence seizures, but can exacerbate generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
Meprobamate's mechanism of action is not completely known. It has been shown in animal studies to have effects at multiple sites in the central nervous system, including the thalamus and limbic system. Meprobamate binds to GABAA receptors which interrupts neuronal communication in the reticular formation and spinal cord, causing sedation and altered perception of pain. It has been shown that meprobamate has the ability to activate currents even in the absence of GABA. It is also a potent adenosine reuptake inhibitor (AdoRI).
Related drugs include carisoprodol (a prodrug of meprobamate) and tybamate.