Temazepam 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 temazepam 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.
Drinking alcohol or using street drugs during your treatment with temazepam also increases the risk that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects. Do not drink alcohol or use street drugs during your treatment.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Temazepam is used on a short-term basis to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). Temazepam 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?
Temazepam 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 temazepam exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You will probably become very sleepy soon after you take temazepam and will remain sleepy for some time after you take the medication. Plan to go to bed right after you take temazepam and to stay in bed for 7 to 8 hours. Do not take temazepam if you will be unable to remain asleep for 7 to 8 hours after taking the medication. If you get up too soon after taking temazepam, you may experience memory problems.
Your sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after you start taking temazepam. 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.
If your doctor has told you to take temazepam regularly, talk to your doctor before you stop taking this medication. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking temazepam, you may feel depressed or have more difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or you may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms such as uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, stomach and muscle cramp s, vomiting, sweating, and rarely, seizures.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with temazepam and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
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 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. If you become pregnant while taking temazepam, call your doctor immediately.
- 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. 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 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?
Temazepam should only be taken at bedtime. If you did not take temazepam at bedtime and you are unable to fall asleep, you may take temazepam if you will be able to remain in bed for 7 to 8 hours afterward. Do not take temazepam if you are not ready to go to sleep right away and stay asleep for at least 7 to 8 hours.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Temazepam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- hangover effect (feeling groggy the day after you take temazepam)
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Temazepam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
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). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- loss of consciousness
- slow or difficult breathing
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Temazepam 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.