Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Temazepam

Temazepam is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia and for pre-operative insomnia.

0

Temazepam is the active ingredient of Normison.

General information

Temazepam is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia and for pre-operative insomnia. It has a short duration, and won't leave you feeling groggy the next morning.

This benzodiazepine should in most case not be used for longer than 2-4 weeks as tolerance and physical and psychological dependence can occur. Temazepam 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 temazepam.

How does it work?

Temazepam 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. Temazepam, and other benzodiazepines, enhances the effect of GABA, thus slowing down the transmission of nerve signals.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 5

Available as: Capsules

What does it do? Temazepam is a drug to alleviate insomnia.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: High

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 30 minutes

Duration of action: Up to 8 hours

Dietary advice: Temazepam may be taken with or without food

Stopping: Sudden discontinuation may lead to withdrawal symptoms. Temazepam 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 temazepam 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: This drug is considered safe.

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: Temazepam'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

Dizziness / loss of coordination

X

x

Slurred speech

X

x

Headache

X

X

Depression

X

x

Fever/chills

X

x

Extreme fatigue

X

x

Libido changes

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 temazepam toxicity

Ketokonazole and other related antifungals

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Cimetidine

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Isoniazid

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Oral contraceptive

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Propranolol

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Valproic acid

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Isoniazid

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Levodopa

Decreases levodopa's anti-Parkinson effect

Probenecid

Increased possibility of temazepam toxicity

Rifampicin

May decrease the effect of temazepam

Theophylline

May counteract the sedative effects of temazepam

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, if you have a mental illness or depression, or if you suffer from sleep apnoea.

Overdose action

An overdose 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

10-30mg 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.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.