Halcion – Powerful Depressant & Hypnotic Benzodiazepine

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Halcion® (Triazolam) is a powerful depressant belonging to a class of sedative anxiolytics called benzodiazepines. Halcion is prescribed for treating severe insomnia and may be used as a dental sedative. In addition to sedative properties, Halcion also exerts hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant and amnesic properties. However, physicians do not typically prescribe it as an anticonvulsant or muscle relaxer.

  • Halcion pills contain triazolam, a triazolobenzodiazepine, a hypnotic agent

Patented nearly 50 years ago, Halcion went on the U.S. drug market in 1982. Currently, it is a controlled substance. The U.S. DEA has assigned Triazolam as a Schedule IV drug and is considered to have a “low potential and risk for abuse and dependence”. Other Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Ambien, Soma and Darvocet.

Halcion For Insomnia

Halcion is prescribed primarily for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Prescriptions for Halcion should only be written for short-term use, 7 to 10 days. It should not be prescribed in quantities exceeding a 1-month supply. Use for more than 2 to 3 weeks requires complete reevaluation of the patient.


Adults usually take .25 mg of Halcion (tablet form only) before going to bed for insomnia. Halcion is meant for short-term use no more than 10 days. For people who do not respond to .25 mg Halcion tablets, doctors may prescribe 0.5 mg tablets. This dosage amount should not be exceeded since the risk of adverse reactions to Halcion increases in higher than normal dosages.

Side Effects

Side effects of taking .25 or .05 mg Halcion tablets can include:

  • Headache
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Depression
  • Foggy thinking/confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle cramps/slight tremors

Some people experience anxiety, abnormal behavior, thinking, and aggression after taking Halcion for several days.

  • Even hallucinations, bizarre behavior and suicidal thoughts have been reported by Halcion users.

Drinking alcohol, taking other benzodiazepines and combining Halcion with antihistamines containing diphenhydramine will increase the sedative effects of Halcion. In addition, certain medications inhibit metabolism of Halcion, which tends to raise levels of Halcion in the body and cause excessive sedation. Drugs like Tagamet, Nizoral, erythromycin and fluvoxamine should not be taken with Halcion.

Getting High

People abusing Halcion crave its drowsy, mind-altering, slightly euphoric effects. Although the U.S DEA lists Halcion as a Schedule IV drug with a low risk for abuse, Halcion users can get addicted to this medication, especially if they abuse it by taking more than what their doctor prescribes.

Halcion abusers suffering withdrawal signs like vomiting, abdominal cramps, tremors, excessive sweating, chills and severe depression indicates an addiction to Halcion, especially if it is abruptly discontinued. To avoid experiencing withdrawal from Halcion, users should gradually reduce how much Halcion they take according to their physician’s instructions.

Halcion vs Xanax

Halcion is prescribed to treat insomnia by interacting with several chemicals in the brain associated with sleep. Xanax, also a benzodiazepine, is primarily prescribed to relieve anxiety and panic attacks by increasing the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Xanax does not cause the short-term amnesia or odd behaviors associated with Halcion but do have a slightly higher risk of addiction due to how it stimulates certain brain receptors.

Halcion vs Ambien

Like Halcion, Ambien (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a693025.html) is prescribed for insomnia. Belonging to a group of medications described as sedative-hypnotics, Ambien also increases GABA in the brain to induce sleepiness. Ambien may cause gastrointestinal disturbances in people sensitive to the drug as well as extremely dry mouth and lack of appetite. Recently, Ambien has become available in spray form for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets.

More Information


Why Dentists Are Using Halcion in Sedation Dentistry


Finding a Bad Night’s Sleep With Halcion


FDA Report Halcion



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