Nitrazepam is part of a class of medicines that are called Benzodiazepines. They are typically used in the treatment of insomnia (any other sleeping issues such as frequent awakenings at night, awakening early-morning and difficulty in going to sleep) on a short-term basis. It is also used to handle myoclonic seizures.
Uses of Nitrazepam
- Insomnia (any other sleeping issues such as frequent awakenings at night, early-morning awakening and difficulty in going to sleep) on a short-term basis
- Myoclonic seizures
Contraindications of Nitrazepam
When should one not use Nitrazepam
If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to Nitrazepam or any of the other group of medicines known as Benzodiazepines (e.g. Flurazepam, Diazepam, Chlordiazepoxide or Temazepam) If you have severe breathing problems or severe problems with your lungs If you have acute porphyria (light-sensitive skin rash) If you have myasthenia gravis (abnormal muscle fatigue) If you are suffering from sleep apnoea syndrome (a temporary breathing stoppage during sleep) If you have liver disease
Side effects of Nitrazepam
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Dizziness, feeling unsteady, loss of co-ordination
- Feeling of emptiness or numb
- Feeling tired, drowsiness, less alert
- Sleeping problems including difficulty sleeping
- Involuntary shaking, muscle weakness
- Changes in the number and types of blood cells (shown in blood tests)
- Muscle cramps, muscle spasm of neck, shoulders and body
- Change in sex drive
- Headache, a spinning sensation (vertigo)
- Visual problems
- Low blood pressure (feeling light-headed, fainting)
- Breathing problems feeling sick (nausea)
- Stomach upset
- Liver problems - causing yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Precautions and Warnings of Nitrazepam
Can I take Nitrazepam during pregnancy?
It is not safe taking this medicine during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby.
Can I take Nitrazepam while breastfeeding?
Nitrazepam passes into breast milk; do not breastfeed if you are taking this medicine.
Can I drive if I have consumed Nitrazepam?
It may make you sleepy or affect your concentration level. Do not drive until you feel alert.
Can I consume alcohol with Nitrazepam?
Patients are not suggested to drink alcohol. It may impair the activity of Nitrazepam and can make you feel dizzy.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You have asthma and other respiratory conditions
- You want to stop taking your medicine as you may suffer from withdrawal symptoms
- You cannot have seven to eight hours of unbroken sleep. If you wake up from your sleep within this time, you may suffer from loss of memory for a short while
- You have a personality disorder as side effects (including suicidal wishes) may increase
- You have low blood levels of a protein called albumin (hypoalbuminaemia)
- You have fits (epilepsy), heart, lung, kidney or liver disease
Mode of Action of Nitrazepam
How Does It Work?
Nitrazepam shortens the time taken to fall asleep and increase the duration of sleep. This medicine should only be used in adults and the elderly for the short-term treatment of sleeplessness (insomnia) when it is severe, causing distress.
Interactions of Nitrazepam
Interactions with other medicines
- Antidepressants, anaesthetics, other tranquilisers, sleeping pills and hypnotics
- Medicines used to relax muscles, such as Baclofen or Tizanidine
- Probenecid used to treat gout
- Medicines used to treat high blood pressure, such as Moxonidine or medicines called alpha-blockers
- Antihistamines (that make you feel sleepy), used for hayfever and other allergies
- Medicines used for alcohol or medicine dependence such as Disulfiram
Interactions with food items
Grapefruit juice is not advised along with this medicine. It may affect the activity of Nitrazepam.
Dosage of Nitrazepam
If you overdose, it can result in slurred speech, a loss of balance and stability along with intoxication. Call an ambulance if there are any symptoms of overdose, such as fainting or poisoning. In extreme cases, it may cause coma and even death.
Missed a Dose
Don’t double up a dose if you miss one. Just take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the next dose, take the next dose and skip the one you missed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How long does the medicine remain in your system?
A: They are typically detected up to a maximum of 30 days. However, if there has been chronic usage (which is generally a year or more of usage), then it can be detected after 4 to 6 weeks as well as after the last dose in the urine. Moreover, this medicine can be detected even in the plasma and serum after the previous dose for around 12 hours, up to 2 days.
Q: Are you allowed to crush the medicine?
A: Yes, you may. It is generally crushed for kids. If your children take the tablet once every day, you should give it before they sleep. You can break or dissolve the tablet as needed. This will help children take the pill without the risk of choking.
Q: How to store this medicine?
- Keep this drugs out of sight and reach of children
- Do not use these drugs after the expiration date that is declared on the pack
- The tablets should be stored below 250°C and protected from light
- Do not throw away any medicines via effluent or unit waste
- Ask your healthcare expert the proper way to throw away medicines you now not use. These measures help protect the environment
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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