Nitrazepam is a sedative drug which is used in the short-term to help people sleep.
General information
Nitrazepam belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Nitrazepam is used for the short-term treatment of difficulty in sleeping, which is severe, disabling or causing extreme distress.
The tablets should be swallowed preferably with a glass of water just before going to bed. To reduce the risk of loss of memory (amnesia), you should make sure that you are able to have an uninterrupted sleep of at least 7 hours after taking this medicine. The usual dose for dults is usually one 5 mg tablet before going to bed. Elderly or debilitated patients (including those with lung problems, kidney, or liver problems) should not exceed half of the recommended adult dose. You should not take these tablets for any longer than recommended by your doctor, as dependence may occur. It is generally recommended that nitrazepam should not be taken for longer than 4 weeks, including any tapering off period where the dose is gradually reduced.
Do not stop taking your tablets suddenly, or without your doctor telling you, as you may suffer from withdrawal effects. Do not drink alcohol whilst taking these tablets, as it may increase the sedative effect of the drug. Caffeine may reduce the effectiveness of these tablets. Nitrazepam may cause drowsiness, forgetfulness, dizziness, blurred vision, reduced concentration or co-ordination. These effects may be increased if you have not had enough sleep, or if you have taken other medicines or drunk alcohol whilst taking Nitrazepam (see section Taking other medicines). If affected, do not drive or operate machinery. The medicine can affect your ability to drive as it may make you sleepy or dizzy.
Do not take Nitrazepam if you are allergic (hypersensitive) to nitrazepam, other benzodiazepines (e.g. temazepam or diazepam); suffer from severe lung problems; suffer from problems such as phobias or obsessional behaviour; suffer from myasthenia gravis, a specific condition causing severe muscle tiredness; suffer from sleep apnoea (difficulty breathing while asleep); have severe liver disease; are under the age of 12 years; have acute porphyria; are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy.
Possible side effect
The most common side effects are fatigue, daytime drowsiness and light-headedness, difficulty in controlling movements, unsteadiness, dizziness, muscle weakness Tell your doctor immediately if you suffer from behavioural changes such as restlessness, agitation, irritability, sweating, aggressiveness, delusions, excitement, rages, nightmares, hallucinations, confusion, psychiatric disorders and inappropriate behaviour, as your treatment may be stopped.
Drug interactions
Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following sedatives; anti-depressants (used to treat depression); monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) e.g., tranylcypromine, phenelzine and isocarboxazid; anti-histamines (used to treat allergies); anti-psychotics (used to treat mental problems); anaesthetics; lofexidine (used to help relieve symptoms when you stop takingopioids); nabilone (used to treat nausea and vomiting); hypnotics (used to help you sleep); alpha blockers or moxonidine (used to treat high blood pressure); muscle relaxants, e.g. baclofen, tizanidine; probenecid (used to treat gout); neuroleptics (e.g. chlorpromazine); pain killers; anti-epileptic drugs e.g. hydantoins such as phenytoin, allobarbital; cimetidine (used to treat stomach ulcers); oestrogen containing contraceptives; disulfiram (used to treat alcohol addiction); ritonavir (an antiviral); isoniazid (used to treat tuberculosis); rifampicin (an antibiotic, used to treat tuberculosis) or levodopa (used to treat Parkinson’s Disease).
Missed dose
If you fall asleep without having taken a dose and wake up some hours later, do not take the missed dose. If necessary, return to your normal dose schedule the following night. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you (or someone else) swallow a lot of the tablets all together, or if you think a child has swallowed any of the tablets, contact your nearest hospital casualty department or your doctor immediately. An overdose is likely to cause drowsiness, confusion, breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, difficulty in controlling movements and slurred speech. In children behavioural changes are likely to occur.
Store the medicine at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Store it in a tight container.
The information presented at the site has a general character. Note please this information cannot be used for self-treatment and self diagnosis. You should consult with your doctor or health care adviser regarding any specific instructions of your condition. The information is reliable, but we concede it could contain mistakes. We are not responsible for any direct, indirect, special or other damage caused by use of this information on the site and also for consequences of self-treatment.