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Mother's Little Helper is a big problem

Valium which has been dubbed "Mother's Little Helper" is coming under the microscope.

The use of valium and other types of anti-anxiety medication, which are classified as benzodiazepines, will be up for discussion at the Royal College of Surgeons mini-med lecture series this evening.

Dolores Keating, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the RCSI School of Pharmacy, who will giving the talk, said that the story of benzodiazepines is a fascinating one.

"Once embraced as a triumph of pharmaceutical science, their misuse has led to significant health issues in Ireland today.

"Benzodiazepines are useful medications in certain circumstances, but, as with all medications, their benefits must be balanced against the risks associated with their use, said Ms Keating who is also the head of pharmacy services at St John of God Hospital.

In the 1965 the Rolling Stones released the song "Mother's Little Helper", describing a housewife's boredom which could only be relieved by taking the tranquiliser diazepam, marketed under the name Valium.

Professor Paul Gallagher, the head of the RCSI said that a 15pc of adults in Ireland have taken a sedative in their lifetime. "Women are more frequently prescribed sedatives than men," he said.