Flurazepam may increase the risk of serious or life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma if used along with certain medications. Tell your doctor if you are taking or plan to take certain opiate medications for cough such as codeine (in Triacin-C, in Tuzistra XR) or hydrocodone (in Anexsia, in Norco, in Zyfrel) or for pain such as codeine (in Fiorinal), fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Subsys, others), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine, Methadose), morphine (Astramorph, Duramorph PF, Kadian), oxycodone (in Oxycet, in Percocet, in Roxicet, others), and tramadol (Conzip, Ultram, in Ultracet). Your doctor may need to change the dosages of your medications and will monitor you carefully. If you take flurazepam with any of these medications and you develop any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical care immediately: unusual dizziness, lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness. Be sure that your caregiver or family members know which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor or emergency medical care if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Flurazepam may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tell your doctor if you have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, if you use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications. Do not drink alcohol or use street drugs during your treatment. Drinking alcohol or using street drugs during your treatment with flurazepam also increases the risk that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness.
Flurazepam may cause a physical dependence (a condition in which unpleasant physical symptoms occur if a medication is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses), especially if you take it for several days to several weeks. Do not stop taking this medication or take fewer doses without talking to your doctor. Stopping flurazepam suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms that may last for several weeks to more than 12 months. Your doctor probably will decrease your flurazepam dose gradually. Call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms: unusual movements; ringing in your ears; anxiety; memory problems; difficulty concentrating; sleep problems; seizures; shaking; muscle twitching; changes in mental health; depression; burning or prickling feeling in hands, arms, legs or feet; seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear; thoughts of harming or killing yourself or others; overexcitement; or losing touch with reality.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Flurazepam is used to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep). Flurazepam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.
How should this medicine be used?
Flurazepam comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken as needed at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take flurazepam exactly as directed.
Flurazepam starts working slowly and continues to work for a short time after you stop taking it. You may experience more benefit from flurazepam on the second and third nights after you start taking it. You may continue to feel the effects of flurazepam for one to two nights after you stop taking the medication.
Your sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after you start taking flurazepam. Call your doctor if your sleep problems do not improve during this time, if they get worse at any time during your treatment, or if you notice any changes in your thoughts or behavior.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking flurazepam,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to flurazepam, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in flurazepam 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 during your treatment with flurazepam and for several days afterward. Be sure to mention any of the following: antihistamines; cimetidine; clozapine (Clozaril, Versacloz); digoxin; medications for anxiety, depression, mental illness, or seizures; muscle relaxants; 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 have or have ever had sleep apnea (a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop for short periods during sleep) or lung, kidney, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking flurazepam, call your doctor immediately.
- talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking flurazepam if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take flurazepam because it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking flurazepam.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy 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.
- 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.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Flurazepam should only be taken at bedtime. If you forget to take flurazepam at bedtime, you are unable to fall asleep, and you will still be able to stay in bed for a full night's sleep, you may take flurazepam at that time. Do not take a double dose of flurazepam to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Flurazepam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- loss of coordination
- stomach pain
- talking more than usual
- joint pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following side effects or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- pounding heartbeat
- chest pain
- coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Flurazepam is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.