Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Lormetazepam

Lormetazepam is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

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Lormetazepam is the active ingredient of Loramet and Noctamid.

General information

Lormetazepam is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

It should in most case not be used for longer than 2-4 weeks, as tolerance and physical and psychological dependence can occur. Lormetazepam shares with other benzodiazepines the risk of abuse, misuse, psychological and/or physical dependence.

If prescribed for longer than 4 weeks, your prescriber should periodically reassess the need for lormetazepam.

How does lormetazepam work?

Lormetazepam has an effect on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the brain's quieting or tranquilising neurotransmitter possessing an inhibitive effect on the transmission of nerve signals. Lormetazepam, and other benzodiazepines, enhances the effect of GABA, thus slowing down the transmission of nerve signals.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 5

Available as: Tablets and capsules

What does it do? Lormetazepam has sedative properties.

Overdose risk: High

Dependence risk: High

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 1 hour.

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours.

Dietary advice: Lormetazepam may be taken with or without food.

Stopping: Sudden discontinuation may lead to withdrawal symptoms. The dosage should be gradually reduced according to the advice of your doctor.

Prolonged use: Short-term therapy is advised, treatment should generally be no longer than 4-6 weeks, including a tapering-off process. Tolerance has been noted with long-term use. Do not take for longer periods unless strictly instructed by your doctor.

Special precautions

Never exceed the prescribed dose.

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a known hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines,
  • you have acute closed-angle glaucoma,
  • You have myasthenia gravis,
  • You have liver or kidney disease,
  • You have a history of alcohol or substance abuse,
  • You have a chronic lung disease,
  • You have a mental illness or depression, or
  • You suffer from sleep apnoea.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.

Elderly: Use with caution as side-effects may be emphasised. Dosage may need adjustment.

Driving and hazardous work: This medication should be avoided, as it may cause extreme sedation.

Alcohol: Lormetazepam's effect may intensify the effect of alcohol and vice versa. Do not consume alcohol while taking this medication as side effects may be drastically pronounced.

Possible side effects:

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Extreme drowsiness

X

x

Loss of coordination/dizziness

X

x

Slurred speech

X

x

Headache

x

X

Depression

X

x

Fever/chills

X

x

Extreme fatigue

X

x

Visual disturbance

x

x

Nausea/vomiting

X

x

Rash/itching

X

x

Anger/behaviour changes

X

x

Impaired memory

X

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

Alcohol, antihistamines, antidepressants, other benzodiazepines, narcotics

Increased depression of central nervous system (CNS)

Digoxin

Increased possibility of digoxin toxicity

Disulfiram

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Ketokonazole and other related antifungals

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Cimetidine

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Isoniazid

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Oral contraceptive

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Propranolol

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Valproic acid

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Isoniazid

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Levodopa

Decreases levodopa's anti-Parkinson effect

Probenecid

Increased possibility of lormetazepam toxicity

Rifampicin

May decrease the effect of lormetazepam

Theophylline

May counteract the sedative effects of lormetazepam

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have acute closed-angle glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, liver or kidney disease, a chronic lung disease, epilepsy, you have a mental illness or depression, or if you suffer from sleep apnoea.

Overdose action

An overdose of Lormetazepam can be serious. Seek immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include poor coordination, slow breathing, tremors, drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, slow reflexes and loss of consciousness.

Recommended dosage

1-2mg 30 minutes before bedtime

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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