Triazolam is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and classified as a benzodiazepine type of drug. It is a sedative-hypnotic drug most often prescribed for the treatment of insomnia or to calm patients before dental surgery. It is also sometimes used as an anti-convulsive.
- Triazolam is also sold under the original brand name Halcion
While its use has seen some controversy due to the possibility of adverse psychiatric reactions, it has been found safe for use by the FDA provided that the minimum effective dosage (.125-.25mg) is prescribed and the duration of its use is limited.
How Triazolam Works
Triazolam works by binding with the receptors in your brain blocking them from joining with chemicals that cause excitability and can prevent you from being able to relax and sleep. In this way, it is very similar to Valium that could be thought of as its first cousin.
One of the biggest advantages that Triazolam has to offer over other sleep aids in its class is a very short half-life. The half-life ranges from 1.5-5.5 hours, depending on the dosage and patient characteristics. Compared to prazepam or chlordiazepoxide that can take over 200 hours for blood concentrations to drop to half strength. Triazolam is metabolized very quickly. This minimizes the burned out feeling that many sleep aids can leave behind.
Triazolam Side Effects
Beyond the risk of abuse, Triazolam has a wide range of side effects that run the gambit from mildly amusing to frightening. Not surprising for a medication used primarily as a sleep aid, drowsiness is its most common side effect followed closely by dizziness and coordination problems.
- It is recommended that you move slowly while taking Triazolam. Especially, when going from a seated or prone position to standing.
Some people experience daytime drowsiness. Adjusting your dosage can usually clear this up but from there, things get a little more serious. Patients have been known to eat, drive, and have conversations and sex without being fully awake or retaining any memory of doing these things. Needless to say, this can create situations that go beyond being embarrassing and could put people’s lives in danger.
In fact, short-term memory loss is a fairly common occurrence when using Triazolam. This normally only occurs though when the person taking it fails to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep or mixes the drug with alcohol.
At higher dosages or when mixed with other substances people have experienced mental and behavior changes such as:
- Abnormal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior
- Thoughts of suicide
While primarily a problem with Triazolam abusers, these conditions have occurred with sufficient frequency that it led to the drug being temporarily removed from many markets.
- At this time only England still prohibits its use both under its brand name Halcion and in generic forms.
Triazolam Drug Interactions
Triazolam is highly reactive and can adversely interact with a wide variety of other drugs including painkillers, muscle relaxers, some antibiotics and HIV inhibitors among others. Both the prescribing physician and pharmacist should be made aware of any medications being taken before dispensing Triazolam.
It should also be noted that grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided when taking any of the benzodiazepine type drugs. It decreases the stomach’s ability to process these compounds and can lead to high levels of Triazolam in your bloodstream and heighten the risk of side effects.
Unfortunately, this same short half-life also contributes to it being highly addictive. Like all members of the benzodiazepine family, triazolam can be both mentally and physically addictive. Patients who have been taking the drug for as little as two weeks have reported having withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue use.
Some of the more commonly experienced sign of withdrawal are:
- Stomach Cramps
For this reason, the majority of doctors prefer to gradually reduce the dosage for patients who have been taking triazolam for extended periods and may recommend professional drug counseling to these patients.
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*image courtesy of exportersindia.com
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