Triazolam is a hypnotic drug. It is a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs. In the United States, it is sold under the brand name Halcion as well as under its generic name.
Triazolam is used for the short-term (generally seven to 10 days) treatment of insomnia . Continued usage for more than two to three weeks requires a complete reevaluation of the person receiving the drug.
Triazolam increases the speed with which people achieve sleep, it increases the duration of sleep, and decreases the likelihood of being awakened during sleep. The effect of triazolam decreases after 14 days of continuous use. Often, sleep patterns return to those experienced prior to beginning use of triazolam or worse. This is called rebound insomnia.
The recommended dose of triazolam is 0.25 mg before going to bed. Persons with smaller body masses and older individuals can receive a comparable effect with 0.125 mg of triazolam. The lowest effective dosage of drug should be used to minimize adverse reactions.
Because of problems with rebound insomnia, patients should not receive triazolam for more than seven consecutive days. Accompanying rebound insomnia may be daytime anxiety.
Triazolam can cause serious birth defects. Women should not take this medicine if they are pregnant, think they may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.
The drug may cause daytime anxiety after as few as 10 days of continuous usage. If this occurs, triazolam use should be discontinued.
Persons using triazolam should exercise caution when driving or using power tools or machinery.
People who use temazepam to reduce jet lag on long flights should be aware of a condition sometimes called "traveler's amnesia." This is a condition where the traveler completes the flight and carries on with normal activities but has no memory of these activities. The period of amnesia may last for a few minutes to a few hours. Traveler's amnesia is most common when the traveler has had too little sleep or has been drinking alcohol.
Triazolam has relatively few side effects. Those that have been reported include drowsiness, headache, dizziness, nervousness, a feeling of being light-headed, problems with coordination, nausea and vomiting.
Less frequent side effects include euphoria, tachycardia, fatigue , confusion, impaired memory, muscle cramping and pain and depression.
Triazolam increases the effect of drugs and substances that depress the central nervous system. This class of drugs includes anesthetics, narcotics, sedatives and other sleeping pills, atropine and alcohol.
Some drugs and foods increase the effects of triazolam. They may also increase the chances of having side effects. These include cimetidine, isoniazid, oral contraceptives, and grapefruit juice.
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L. Fleming Fallon, Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H.