Estazolam is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). Estazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.
Side Effects Of Estazolam
Estazolam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- hangover effect (grogginess)
- dry mouth
- changes in behavior
- slowed or uncoordinated movements
- muscle stiffness
- leg pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so
- memory problems
Estazolam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking estazolam:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to estazolam; any other medications, or any of the ingredients in estazolam tablets. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you are taking ketoconazole (Nizoral) or itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take estazolam if you are taking either of these medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: certain antibiotics such as erythromycin (E.E.S., Erythrocin, E-Mycin); antidepressants; antihistamines; barbiturates such as phenobarbital or pentobarbital; cimetidine (Tagamet); digoxin (Lanoxin); diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac); disulfiram (Antabuse); fluvoxamine (Luvox); isoniazid (Laniazid, in Rifamate, in Rifater); medications for mental illness or nausea; medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Equetro, Tegretol, Teril) and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate); nefazodone; rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater); sedatives; sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. Many other medications may also interact with estazolam, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, used or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications. Also, tell your doctor if you have ever thought about killing or harming yourself or planned or tried to do so and if you have or have ever had depression, mental illness, seizures, breathing problems or lung disease, or kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking estazolam, call your doctor immediately.
- talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking estazolam if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take estazolam because it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking estazolam.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy during the daytime. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may decrease the effectiveness of this medication.
- you should know that some people who took medications for sleep got out of bed and drove their cars, prepared and ate food, had sex, made phone calls, or were involved in other activities while partially asleep. After they woke up, these people were usually unable to remember what they had done. Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have been driving or doing anything else while you were sleeping.
Estazolam comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken as needed at bedtime or after going to bed and having difficulty falling asleep. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take estazolam exactly as directed.
You will probably become very sleepy after you take estazolam and may remain sleepy for some time. Plan to go to bed right after you take estazolam and to stay in bed for a full night. Do not take estazolam if you will be unable to remain asleep for a full night after you take the medication.
Your sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after you start taking estazolam. Call your doctor if your sleep problems do not improve during this time, if they worsen at any time during your treatment, or if you notice any unusual changes in your thoughts or behavior.
Estazolam can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
If your doctor has told you to take estazolam regularly, talk to your doctor before you stop taking this medication. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking estazolam, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, sad mood, seeing things or hearing sounds that do not exist, and seizures.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Estazolam is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.