Triazolam (marketed under brand names Halcion®, Novodorm®, Songar®) is a drug which is a benzodiazepine derivative. It possesses anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. more...
In the past, triazolam was commonly prescribed to individuals who frequently changed time zones, such as business people and politicians travelling overseas. However, this practice has been discouraged, because these individuals would on occasion wake up with total amnesia and have no knowledge of where they were, or why they were there. In rare cases, paranoia would ensue.
Triazolam is commonly prescribed for insomnia because of its fast onset of action, and short half-life (approximately 3 hours). This makes it ideal for this use because it thereby avoids morning drowsiness.
Dosages for triazolam are significantly lower than other benzodiazepines, and should be individualized depending on the needs of the patient. For insomnia, 0.125mg to 0.25mg are given at bedtime. Up to 0.5mg may be needed for resistent individuals. Dosage should never exceed 0.5mg.
The safety of triazolam is questionable, because it has a fairly narrow therapeutic window. Also, evidence suggests long-term use (beyond 14 days) can cause hallucinations, amnesia, paranoia and aggressive behaviors. Also, like most other short acting benzodiazepines, it has a high potential for misuse, abuse and addiction.
Halcion belongs to the Pregnancy Category X of the FDA. This means that it is known to cause birth defects in the unborn baby. On October 2, 1991, the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) banned sales of Triazolam in the UK after concluding that it had a higher frequency of psychiatric side-effects than other hypnotics.
Internationally, triazolam is a Schedule IV drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
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