However, there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Insomnia. Legend Prescription OnlyOTCOver the CounterRx/Prescription or Over the CounterOff-labelThis medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition. Pregnancy CategoryAAdequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.Their is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.FDA has not classified the drug. Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedules not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.1Has a high potential for abuse.
There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.2Has a high potential for abuse. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Strictly speaking, Z drugs are not benzodiazepines but are another class of medicine. Bright nights, hot bedrooms and high pollen counts can all mess with your shuteye in the summer....
Symptoms of anxiety include: agitation, tension, irritability, the sensation of having a 'thumping heart' (palpitations), shakiness, sweating, excess worry, sleeping badly, poor concentration, fast breathing and sometimes a knotted feeling in the stomach and other muscles. Although most people will feel anxious at some time, sometimes the symptoms become prolonged and distressing.
Simply talking things over with a friend, counselor, or with members of a self-help group may also help. However, if symptoms become very severe, you may occasionally be advised to take a benzodiazepine medicine for a short time.
A large dose is commonly given as a sedative during medical procedures that may cause anxiety or discomfort. Some benzodiazepines are occasionally used to treat muscle spasm and certain types of epilepsy as they can prevent fits (seizures).
If you are not used to taking benzodiazepines or Z drugs, the first doses are usually good at easing symptoms of anxiety or promoting sleep. A benzodiazepine does nothing to remove any underlying cause of anxiety such as a life crisis.
Benzodiazepines and Z drugs work best in situations where anxiety or sleeping difficulty is expected to last only a short while. You can usually stop a benzodiazepine or a Drug without any problems if you take it for just a short period of time (no more than 2-4 weeks).
In 1981, benzodiazepines were the most commonly prescribed medicines in western countries. It was because benzodiazepines worked so well to ease symptoms of anxiety and poor sleep that many people came back for more.
However, it is now known that if you take a benzodiazepine or a Drug for more than 2-4 weeks, you may develop problems (see below). There is a good chance that you will become addicted to (dependent on) a benzodiazepine or a Drug if you take it for more than four weeks.
The duration of withdrawal symptoms varies but often lasts up to six weeks and sometimes longer. Withdrawal symptoms may not start for two days after stopping the tablet and tend to be worst in the first week or so.
Some people have minor residual withdrawal symptoms for several months. But note: you are unlikely to become dependent on a benzodiazepine or a Drug if you take it for a short period only.
Even if you take a benzodiazepine or Drug for a short time, you may feel drowsy during the daytime. Some people have described themselves as being in a zombie state when they were taking a benzodiazepine on a long-term basis.
People found in possession illegally, or attempting to supply them to others, could face a fine or a prison sentence. People on normal doses of benzodiazepines and Z drugs prescribed by their doctor do not need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DLA).
If you have been taking a benzodiazepine or a Drug for over four weeks and want to come off it, it is best to discuss the problem with a doctor. However, many people develop withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking a benzodiazepine or a Drug.
To keep withdrawal effects to a minimum, it is often best to reduce the dose of the medicine gradually over a number of weeks or months before finally stopping it. If you have been taking a benzodiazepine or Drug for over four weeks and want to stop it, it is best to discuss the problem with a doctor.
Some people can stop taking benzodiazepines and Z drugs without any difficulty, as they have only minor withdrawal effects which soon ease off. However, for a lot of people the withdrawal effects are too severe to cope with if the medicine is stopped suddenly.
Therefore, it is often best to reduce the dose gradually over several months before finally stopping it. Often, coming off benzodiazepines and Z drugs is just a matter of very slowly reducing them.
In this situation a common plan is to switch from whatever benzodiazepine tablet or Drug you are taking to diazepam. With diazepam, the dose can be altered very gradually and with greater ease compared to other benzodiazepines.
After this, you can decide with your doctor a plan of how to reduce the dose gradually. This can be flexible, so you can come off your medication more quickly or more slowly depending on how you are feeling.
A common plan is to reduce the dose by a small amount every 1-2 weeks. The gradual reduction of dose keeps any withdrawal symptoms to a minimum.
Occasionally other medication may be prescribed to help you cope with symptoms while you are coming off benzodiazepines. For example, you may be offered antidepressants if depression emerges whilst you are on a withdrawal program.
Before coming off a benzodiazepine or a Z drug it may be best to wait until any life crisis has passed and your level of stress is as low as can be. Consider starting whilst on holiday, when you have less pressure from work, fewer family commitments, less stress, etc.
Consider telling family or friends that you are coming off a benzodiazepine or a Z drug. Advice and support from other people in similar circumstances, or who have come off a benzodiazepine or a Z drug, can be very encouraging.
If anxiety symptoms persist or are severe, your doctor may advise on other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). For many people, the gradual withdrawal and eventual stopping of diazepam take several months.
In addition, FDA is adding a contraindication, which is the agency’s strongest warning, stating that patients who have experienced an episode of what is known as complex sleep behavior should not take these drugs. FDA has received reports of people taking these insomnia medicines and accidentally overdosing, falling, being burned, shooting themselves, and wandering outside in freezing weather, among other incidents.
Read the patient Medication Guide as soon as you get the prescription filled and before you start taking the medicine. It’s important to follow carefully the dosing instructions in the Patient Medication Guide.