Temazepam is a type of medicine called a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative and anxiety-relieving effects.
What is it used for?
- Short-term (two to four weeks only) treatment of severe insomnia that is disabling or subjecting the individual to extreme distress.
- Relieving anxiety and causing sedation before minor surgery or medical procedures (pre-medication).
How does it work?
- Temazepam is a type of medicine called a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative and anxiety-relieving effects.
- Benzodiazepines work by acting on receptors in the brain called GABA receptors. This causes the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in the brain.
- Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural 'nerve-calming' agent.
How do I take it?
- Temazepam is taken by mouth as tablets or liquid. It can be taken either with or without food.
- Always take the medicine as directed by your doctor. Do not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor.
- For sleeping problems (insomnia) you should only take this medicine before going to bed at night. If you forget to take it at bedtime don'’t take it at any other time, or you will end up feeling drowsy, dizzy and confused during the day.
Use with caution in
- Children. This medicine should not be used for treating sleeping problems in children.
- Elderly people.
- Weak or debilitated people.
- Decreased kidney function.
- Decreased liver function.
- People with disease affecting the lungs and airways (respiratory disease).
- People with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse.
- People with personality disorders.
- It is important to tell your doctor if you have recently suffered a loss or bereavement, for example the death of a close friend or relative, before taking this medicine. Benzodiazepines such as this one can affect the way you adjust psychologically to events like this.
Not to be used in
- People who are allergic to other benzodiazepines.
- People with a sudden worsening of any underlying lung disease (acute pulmonary insufficiency).
- People with slow, shallow breathing (respiratory depression).
- People who suffer from sleep apnoea syndrome, which is a problem involving short spells when breathing stops during sleep.
- People with abnormal muscle weakness due to the condition myasthenia gravis.
- Long-term psychotic illness.
- Phobias or obsessional states.
- Severely decreased liver function.
- This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine may be harmful to a developing baby and it should be avoided during pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. This is particularly important during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy and before or during labour. Regular use during pregnancy should especially be avoided, as the baby could become dependent on the medicine and then suffer withdrawal symptoms after the birth. If this medicine is used in late pregnancy or during labour it may cause floppiness, low body temperature and breathing or feeding difficulties in the baby after birth. Ask your doctor for further information.
- This medicine passes into breast milk. It should not be used by mothers who are breastfeeding as it may be harmful to the nursing infant. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Drowsiness and sedation, including drowsiness the next day.
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy.
- Numbed emotions.
- Reduced alertness.
- Muscle weakness.
- Shaky movements and unsteady walk (ataxia).
- Blurred vision.
- Slurred speech.
- Slow, shallow breathing.
- Difficulty in passing urine (urinary retention) or urinary incontinence.
- Disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
- Skin rashes.
- Low blood pressure (hypotension).
- Loss of memory (amnesia).
- Changes in sex drive.
- Increased salivation or dry mouth.
- Blood disorders.
Unexpected effects such as increase in aggression, excitement, restlessness, irritability, rages, nightmares, hallucinations, psychotic reactions (see warning section above).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
If you think you have experienced a side effect from a medicine or vaccine you should check the patient information leaflet. This lists the known side effects and what to do if you get them. You can also get advice from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. If they think it’s necessary they'll report it for you.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you use this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
The sedative effect of this medicine will be increased if it is taken with any of the following, which can also cause drowsiness:
- antipsychotics, eg chlorpromazine, clozapine
- barbiturates, eg phenobarbital, amobarbital
- other benzodiazepines, eg diazepam
- MAOI antidepressants, eg phenelzine
- sedating antihistamines, eg chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine, promethazine
- other sleeping tablets, eg zopiclone
- strong opioid painkillers, eg morphine, codeine, dihydrocodeine
- tricyclic and related antidepressants, eg amitriptyline, mirtazapine.
Disulfiram may increase the amount of temazepam in your blood and this could increase its sedative effect, as well as increase the risk of its side effects. As a result, your doctor may need to prescribe a lower dose of temazepam if you are taking disulfiram.
Temazepam may enhance the blood pressure lowering effect of medicines that lower blood pressure, particularly medicines used to treat high blood pressure (antihypertensives), diuretic medicines and nitrates for angina. This may cause dizziness, which can usually be relieved by lying down until the symptoms pass.
Temazepam may affect (increase or decrease) the blood level of the anti-epileptic medicine phenytoin.
Caffeine and theophylline may reduce the sedative and anxiety-reducing effects of temazepam.