triazolam, Halcion

GENERIC NAME: triazolam


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Triazolam is a drug that is used to promote sleep in individuals who have difficulty sleeping (insomnia). It is in the benzodiazepine family of drugs, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan), and others. Insomnia is believed often to be the result of anxiety, a state in which the brain is excessively active. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a substance produced in the brain which inhibits (slows down) nerves and many of the activities of the brain. Triazolam and other benzodiazepines enhance the effects of GABA and thereby reduce activity in the brain and promote sleep. Triazolam was approved by the FDA in 1982.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 0.125mg and 0.25mg.

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 °C (59-86 °F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Triazolam is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

DOSING: Triazolam usually is prescribed once daily at bedtime to promote sleep. Individuals over the age of 65 years may require smaller doses to avoid side effects.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Benzodiazepines, including triazolam, add to the effects of other drugs that also inhibit activity within the brain, such as alcohol, barbiturates, narcotics and some over-the-counter antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl; Chol-Trimeton). Combining these drugs with benzodiazepines may cause excessive sedation. A few drugs block the metabolism (elimination) of triazolam from the body, thereby raising the levels of triazolam in the body and causing excessive sedation. Such drugs include cimetidine (Tagamet), erythromycin (E-Mycin; Estolate), clarithromycin (Biaxin), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), fluconazole (Diflucan), carbamazepine (Tegretol), fluvoxamine (Luvox). (Grapefruit juice can do the same thing.) Phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), and rifabutin (Mycobutin) increase the rate of elimination of triazolam from the body and can lead to a loss of triazolam's effectiveness.

PREGNANCY: Since other benzodiazepines have been associated with fetal abnormalities, triazolam is not recommended during pregnancy.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether triazolam is secreted into breast milk. Other benzodiazepines are, however, and it is likely that triazolam is as well. There have no reports of side effects in infants whose nursing mothers had taken triazolam. However, it would be prudent for nursing mothers not to take triazolam.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of triazolam are weakness or tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, clumsiness, or unsteadiness; a "hangover" effect, headache, increased dreaming, loss of memory, nausea, vomiting, confusion, depression, lightheadedness or fainting spells, mood changes, excitability, aggressive behavior, movement difficulty, staggering or jerky movements, muscle cramps, and tremors.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 7/22/2000 11:55:00 PM

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