Flurazepam, a benzodiazepine derivative, is indicated for short-term insomnia treatment. It also has anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant characteristics.
It is a central nervous system depressant and can be abused. For this reason, flurazepam is a regulated medication and can only be bought with a doctor’s prescription.
It is usually sold as a capsule. Flurazepam should not be used for more than 7 days. However, some cases may need long-term flurazepam treatment.
These patients need to be monitored closely to prevent substance dependence.
2 What to Know Before Using
You need to fully understand the pros and cons of flurazepam use before beginning treatment. You and your doctor need to discuss this in detail.
If you’ve had allergic reactions to flurazepam or similar drugs, you should not take this medication. You also need to inform your healthcare provider if you have allergies to animals, food, preservatives, and other medications.
There hasn’t been adequate research done regarding the safety and efficacy of flurazepam in children below 15 years of age. On the other hand, studies have shown that flurazepam functions well in geriatric patients.
It should be noted, however, that elderly patients are more prone to unsteadiness, dizziness and severe drowsiness, which then can lead to falls and injuries. Elderly patients taking flurazepam should be monitored.
Dose adjustments may be necessary. Pregnant women should not take flurazepam because it can cause birth defects like heart deformities and cleft lip in the fetus.
The same goes for breastfeeding women as flurazepam can be ingested by the infant through breast milk. Lactating women should either stop breastfeeding or not use flurazepam.
This medicine also interacts with other drugs. Concomitant use of flumazenil is not recommended.
Flurazepam should not be used simultaneously with the following medications but can be necessary at times:
In such cases, the dose and timing of your medications may be adjusted. Using amprenavirm, St. John's Wort, and theophylline concomitantly can increase side effects.
You should not drink alcoholic beverages while on flurazepam. This medicine should be used with caution in patients who have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Flurazepam can also make breathing problems and depression worse. It should also be used with caution in patients with liver and kidney diseases.
Take flurazepam as directed by your physician. You should not increase your dose or treatment duration without consulting your doctor first. Flurazepam is to be taken at bedtime.
The dose depends on your condition. Adult patients with insomnia usually take 30 mg at bedtime. This can be adjusted by your healthcare provider if necessary.
Elderly patients with insomnia should only take 15 mg at bedtime. For children with insomnia, the dose should be determined by the treating physician.
Again, flurazepam is a highly addicting medication, and you should not double dose. If you miss a dose, skip it and take the next one.
Keep your medicine in a safe place where children and other people can’t access it accidentally. Store it at room temperature in a sealed container. Throw away expired medications.
4 Precautions to Take
Keep your follow-up appointments so that your doctor can monitor your condition. Again, flurazepam can cause harmful effects on the fetus. You should not take this if you are pregnant.
You should avoid getting pregnant while on flurazepam treatment as well. If you do suspected pregnancy, inform your doctor immediately. This medication can also cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
This can be life threatening, so seek medical attention right away if you have hives, trouble breathing, itching, trouble swallowing, and/or swelling of the face, hands, or mouth.
Do not take other CNS depressants while on flurazepam. Doing so could increase the CNS depression. Check with your treating physician before taking antihistamines, barbiturates, muscle relaxants, and prescription pain medicines.
The effects of flurazepam can also be felt at day time, so make sure you avoid driving or doing anything that needs concentration and critical thinking while the effects last.
Flurazepam can also cause behavioral changes like depression, confusion, unusual excitement, and irritability. You may also experience hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.
Consult your physician right away if you have any of these. Ask someone to monitor you while you sleep because flurazepam causes sleep-related behaviors as well.
Do not stop flurazepam abruptly as this can cause withdrawal. Your physician will have to taper you off slowly. Check with your doctor if your condition doesn’t get better within 7-10 days.
5 Potential Side Effects
Flurazepam also has several associated side effects.
You need to contact your physician right away if you have blurred vision, chest pain, chills, cough, fever, painful urination, shortness of breath, slurred speech, sore throat, and/or unusual bleeding or bruising.
Some side effects do not need treatment. These include the following: bitter taste, burning eyes, difficulty in focusing, dry mouth, itching, loss of appetite, restlessness, and weight loss.
However, you should call your doctor if the side effects get worse or if you experience other unusual symptoms.
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