What is the drug temazepam used for


Generic Name: temazepam (te MAZ e pam)
Brand Names: Restoril

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD Last updated on Jan 14, 2019.

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What is temazepam?

Temazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen). Temazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems (insomnia).

Temazepam is used to treat insomnia symptoms, such as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Important information

Do not use temazepam if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn.

Temazepam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. This medicine should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death.

Temazepam may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Take this medication only when you are getting ready for several hours of sleep. You may fall asleep very quickly after taking the medicine.

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, or making phone calls and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking temazepam and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to temazepam or to other benzodiazepines (alprazolam, Xanax, Valium, or others).

To make sure temazepam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder;

  • kidney or liver disease;

  • a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior;

  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or

  • if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.

Do not use temazepam if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects. Your baby could also become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking temazepam.

Temazepam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

The sedative effects of temazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking this medicine.

Temazepam is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take temazepam?

Take temazepam exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never use in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms.

Temazepam may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

You should not even share this medicine with another person who has the same symptoms you have.

Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Take temazepam only when you are getting ready for several hours of sleep. You may fall asleep very quickly after taking the medicine.

Do not take this medicine unless you are able to get a full night’s sleep before you must be active again.

This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using temazepam.

Temazepam should be used for only a short time to treat insomnia. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 to 10 nights of treatment, or if this medicine seems to stop working as well in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Do not stop using this medicine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Your insomnia symptoms may also return when you stop using the medicine. Ask your doctor how to safely stop taking temazepam.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Temazepam is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since this medicine is taken only at bedtime, you will not be on a frequent dosing schedule. Never take this medicine if you do not have at least 7 to 8 hours to sleep before being active again. Do not take extra medicine to make up a missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of temazepam can be fatal, especially if taken with alcohol. Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, or loss of consciousness and coma.

What should I avoid while taking temazepam?

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking temazepam.

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Temazepam side effects

Temazepam may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking temazepam and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; nausea, vomiting; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, or making phone calls and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking this medicine and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • confusion, agitation, hostility, hallucinations;

  • anxiety, memory problems;

  • depressed mood; or

  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.

Common temazepam side effects may include:

  • day-time drowsiness or “hangover” feeling;

  • headache;

  • dizziness, tiredness;

  • nausea; or

  • feeling nervous.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Temazepam dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Insomnia:

7.5 to 30 mg orally once a day at bedtime

-In transient insomnia, a 7.5 mg dose may be sufficient to improve sleep latency.
-In elderly or debilitated patients, therapy should be initiated at 7.5 mg until individual responses are determined.
Use: Short-term treatment of insomnia (generally 7 to 10 days)

What other drugs will affect temazepam?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Other drugs may interact with temazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use temazepam only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.03.

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Other brands: Restoril

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Before taking temazepam,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to temazepam, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in temazepam capsules. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antidepressants; antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl); digoxin (Lanoxin); and medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures; sedatives; other sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications. Also tell your doctor if you have ever thought about killing yourself or tried to do so, and if you have or have ever had any condition that affects your breathing; depression; mental illness; seizures; or kidney or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You should not take temazepam if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking temazepam, call your doctor immediately. Temazepam may harm the fetus.
  • talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking temazepam if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should usually take lower doses of temazepam because higher doses may not be more effective and are more likely to cause serious side effects.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking temazepam.
  • you should know that this medication may make you drowsy during the daytime, may decrease your mental alertness, and may increase the risk that you could fall. Take extra care to be sure you do not fall, especially if you get out of bed in the middle of the night. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may decrease the effectiveness of this medication.
  • you should know that some people who took medications for sleep got out of bed and drove their cars, prepared and ate food, had sex, made phone calls, or were involved in other activities while partially asleep. After they woke up, these people were usually unable to remember what they had done. Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have been driving or doing anything else while you were sleeping.
  • you should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways while you are taking this medication. It is hard to tell if these changes are caused by temazepam or if they are caused by physical or mental illnesses that you already have or suddenly develop. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: aggressiveness, strange or unusually outgoing behavior, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), feeling as if you are outside of your body, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, new or worsening depression, thinking about killing yourself, confusion, and any other changes in your usual thoughts, mood, or behavior. Be sure that your family knows which symptoms may be serious so that they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

What is Restoril?

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.

If your condition does not improve within 7 to 10 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine may cause you to do things while you are still asleep that you may not remember the next morning. It is possible you could drive a car, sleepwalk, have sex, make phone calls, or prepare and eat food while you are asleep or not fully awake. Tell your doctor right away if you learn that any of these has happened.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop taking this medicine. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause some people, especially older persons, to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy or unsteady, or less alert than they are normally, which may lead to falls. Even though temazepam is taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Also, this medicine may cause double vision or other vision problems. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.

If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are using temazepam, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people using this medicine are like those seen in people who drink alcohol and then act in a manner that is not normal. Other changes may be more unusual and extreme, such as confusion, worsening of depression, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), suicidal thoughts, and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability.

Do not stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent a worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as convulsions (seizures), hallucinations, stomach or muscle cramps, tremors, or unusual behavior.

If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of this medicine, get emergency help at once. Taking an overdose of temazepam or taking alcohol or other CNS depressants with temazepam may lead to breathing problems and unconsciousness. Some signs of an overdose include: severe drowsiness, severe nausea or vomiting, staggering, and troubled breathing.

Temazepam may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, tongue, mouth, or throat while you are using this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter ) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Does a Restoril Overdose Look Like? How to Help

Restoril is a prescription medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of insomnia. People who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep may benefit from taking Restoril. It is only intended to be used, however, for short periods, as it is known to be habit-forming.

Restoril is a benzodiazepine and anti-anxiety medication that works by calming the central nervous system and, in turn, anxieties that cause people to have trouble sleeping. As long as one does not have certain pre-existing health conditions and is not taking certain medications, Restoril is considered safe for most people to take on a short-term basis. However, taking Restoril for more than two weeks is not recommended, as tolerance followed by dependence can develop.

When taken under doctors’ supervision, Restoril may lead to tolerance, but it should not develop to dependence or addiction. Once tolerance starts to build, doctors and patients can work together to adjust dosages, switch medications, or find alternative ways to reduce anxiety and promote good sleep. When abused or used recreationally, however, it is much easier to find yourself in a situation of dependence, addiction, or even overdose.

How to Identify a Restoril Overdose

Of the more than 30 different types of benzodiazepines available, temazepam (the generic name for Restoril) is among the ones that are most commonly abused. Standard doses of temazepam range from 10 mg (milligrams) to 30 mg, taken three to four times per day. When dosages more than these amounts are taken, individuals run the risk of experiencing a dangerous overdose. Additionally, the combination of temazepam with other drugs or alcohol can increase its effects as well as the likelihood of overdosing on the combination of drugs.

When someone is experiencing an overdose related to Restoril, they may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Impaired cognition
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Coma

You do not need to experience all of the above symptoms to meet the criteria for an overdose. If you observe any of the above symptoms happening in yourself or someone else, get help right away.
Symptoms may seem mild at first, but they can progress quickly and unpredictably. There may be substances left in the person’s stomach that have yet to be processed and will only worsen the overdose once they enter the bloodstream.

The Dangers of Overdosing

The biggest concern of a Restoril overdose is that it could be life-threatening. Benzodiazepines suppress the functioning of vital systems in the body, such as breathing and heart rate. If too much Restoril gets into your system, the depressant effects could be so great that you enter a coma and stop breathing altogether.

In addition to the risk of severely suppressing breathing, Restoril overdose can cause serious seizures that can also be life-threatening. Severe seizures can cause people to have pauses in breathing that reduce oxygen levels in the blood to dangerously low levels if they last for too long. Seizures marked by convulsions can also obstruct the airway, making it impossible to breathe. Though it is rare, it is also possible for seizures to cause irregular heart rhythms and heart failure.

Because of the life-threatening dangers presented by a Restoril overdose, the drug should be used with extreme caution and only under a doctor’s supervision. Experimenting with Restoril use for recreational or self-medicating purposes puts you at high risk for unintended consequences that have the potential to be life-threatening.

How to Help Someone Experiencing an Overdose From Restoril

If someone you are with takes too much Restoril and begins to exhibit any of the symptoms of an overdose, seek medical care right away. Call 911 immediately or drive straight to an emergency room, if you are safe to do so.

If you are in the presence of someone overdosing on Restoril, here are steps you can take to ensure their safety until medical help arrives.

Steps you can take until medical help arrives

  • Assess the victim’s vital signs, including breathing and heart rate.
  • Ensure an open airway for breathing.
  • Make sure there is nothing nearby that could hurt them in the event of a seizure.
  • Remain with the person until professional help arrives.

Ultimately, the greatest help you can be for someone experiencing a Restoril overdose is to get them to emergency medical care as quickly as possible. Ensure their safety as best as you can while you wait for help to arrive, and then let the doctors or paramedics take over from there.

Medical Treatment for a Restoril Overdose

Medical treatment for a Restoril overdose consists mostly of supportive care by managing uncomfortable symptoms. If the overdose is mild and only slight central nervous system depression has occurred, the victim may just remain under medical observation until all of the Restoril in their system has been metabolized. By remaining under observation, emergency room doctors can provide medical intervention should any unsuspected symptoms arise.

If the overdose is more severe, and there is a greater chance of significant depression of the central nervous system, an antidote called flumazenil can be administered. Flumazenil is a benzodiazepine antagonist, meaning it reverses the effects of benzodiazepines like Restoril. Respiratory support and ventilation may still be required, however, even after flumazenil is given.

Administering a dose of activated charcoal is another option for treating a Restoril overdose. It is not a commonly used practice, but it is a treatment option. The activated charcoal can help to absorb any remaining Restoril in the stomach before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Similarly, stomach pumping is done occasionally to rid the stomach of any unprocessed substances. Activated charcoal and stomach pumping can have unpleasant symptoms of their own, however, so they are not typically used unless absolutely necessary.

Outlook Following an Overdose

When the cause of an overdose is purely from taking Restoril, the outlook for making a full recovery is usually quite good. Very few incidents of Restoril-related overdoses, however, are caused solely by Restoril use. Most emergency room visits related to Restoril overdose are also related to opioid and alcohol misuse. The use of multiple substances at once increases the risk of overdose as well as complications for proper treatment. Nonetheless, most people make full recoveries from drug overdoses.

To ensure full recovery from an overdose and to prevent the occurrence of one in the future, participation in a drug treatment program is recommended. Comprehensive treatment for a substance use disorder includes full detoxification, which is often medically assisted, management of medications, participation in behavioral therapy, and the creation and implementation of an aftercare plan that supports ongoing sobriety.

Experiencing a drug overdose does not mean you have a substance use disorder, though it can be a strong indication of one. If you have a history of taking prescription drugs like Restoril and have been struggling to use them safely, many resources are available to help.

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