Benzodiazepines are contained in prescription pills only and are not available over the counter. As HealthCommunities.com points out, while there are numerous sleeping pills available over the counter, they do not contain the ingredient benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepine is a controlled substance and only available with a doctor's prescription.
Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that are used to treat conditions of insomnia and anxiety. They are known to cause drowsiness, which helps those suffering from insomnia. According to AllSleep, the length of effectiveness is the difference between the classes of these drugs. Some drugs work quickly; however, they do not last through the night, causing problems for those looking to fall asleep and stay asleep. Others last longer, however they produce a "hangover" feeling the next morning for their users, per Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life.
According to HealthCommunities.com, benzodiazepines are only available by prescription because caution should be used when taking them, especially by those operating motor vehicles and heavy machinery. Another reason these medicines are only available by prescription is because of the risk they carry of a dependency being formed; for this reason, doctors sometimes change the medications their patients are using. Dizziness, confusion and falls can also be experienced by users. For these reasons, those using benzodiazepines should be closely monitored by their doctors.