Since the dawn of our existence, mankind has been plagued with stress and anxiety.
While some people may brush off anxiety as one of those medical conditions that “isn’t real”, for others, it can be downright life-ruining.
Especially when it comes to sleep…
Truth be told, anxiety can have numerous negative impacts on your life, health, mental and physical well-being, but one of the worst thing about it is that it can interfere with your sleep.
We all need sleep…
Even people who swear they need sleep are lying. You may feel okay off a few hours of sleep, but you’ll function much better on a good night’s sleep.
When you think “sleep-aid”, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t Temazepam.
But did you know it’s the most widely prescribed sleep-aid drug in the world?
Chances are you probably didn’t.
Most people think of things like
And various other name-brand sleep-aids.
The reality is though, Temazepam tops them all both in terms of world-wide popularity and abuse potential.
Like all drugs that actually work, it’s important to come to a complete understanding of:
- What Temazepam Is
- How It Works
- Side Effects And Safety
- Proper Dosage
- Addictive Potential
So, that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.
By the end, you’ll not only understand what it is and how it works, but you’ll also be able to weight the pros against the cons and determine if Temazepam is really for you.
Sound good? Okay, let’s get started…
What Is Temazepam?
Temazepam is a benzodiazepine which was patented in the 1960s and released to the public in the 1980’s.
More specifically, Temazepam is the 3-hydroxy analogue of Diazepam (Valium).
Chemically, it looks like this:
It was originally sold under the brand name Restoril, but since the expiration of the original patent, generic versions have hit the market under such names as:
As well as several others.
By the late 1980’s, Restoril (the only available brand of Temazepam) was the most widely used hyptonic/sleep-aid.
In fact, it’s so effective that the military uses it to get pilots to go to sleep during what they refer to as “no-go” time. That is, time when pilots won’t have to do anything important so they really should be getting some sleep.
While it’s primary use is for insomnia and other similar sleep disoreders, Temazepam is also a:
- muscle relaxant
- anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
These properties are shared by all benzodiazepines, but since Temazepam seems to have a particular affinity for putting you to sleep, that’s what it’s generally known for.
How Does Temazepam Work?
Temazepam essentially works the same way as other benzos, such as Alprazolam, by binding to the benzodiazepine subsection of GABA receptors in the brain.
In doing so, it increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It’s job is simply to slow things down.
Naturally, increasing GABA activity:
- reduces anxiety/stress
- promotes sedation (sleep)
- relaxes muscles
It does this by blocking the released of other neurotransmitter (like Noradrenaline and Acetylcholine) which cause excitation.
Temazepam has a very high absorption rate (at least 90%) and reaches peak plasma (blood) levels in about 3 hours.
It’s excellent bioavailability, combined with a pretty long half-life (10-15 hours), may explain why it’s such an effective sleep-aid, relative to other benzodiazepines.
Over the years, benzodiazepines have become stronger and stronger.
Drugs like Alprazolam and Etizolam require only 1 or 2 milligrams to be effective, but Temazepam has to be dosed a bit higher.
You’ll find it in doses of:
Interestingly, research has shown that lower doses are just as effective as higher doses for the purposes of inducing and maintaining normal sleep.
It’s generally recommended to start with the lowest possible dose of any drug–especially benzodiazepines–and Temazepam is no exception.
If you’re using it for sleeping issues, try 7.5mg first. If that doesn’t work, talk to your doctor about upping the dose.
Higher doses (such as 30mg) may be safe, but are probably unnecessary for most people.
Temazepam Side Effects And Safety
The side effects of Temazepam are largely the same as other benzodiazepines.
- sedation (more of a direct effect)
- lack of motivation
- delayed reaction time
- memory loss
- slurred speach
- weakness (it’s a muscle relaxant)
- not caring about anything
- increased appetite
Now, if you’re taking Temazepam to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, or get better quality sleep, most of these side effects are not a big deal.
Sure, you might be drowsy and not care about anything, but that’s why you take it before bed.
Of course, there are some more serious side effects which occur in less than 1% of people. These include things like:
- Irrational Behavior
- Low Blood Pressure
- Loss Of Libido
But again, these are pretty rare.
Not to mention, most of these side effects would only occur if you were to Temazepam as a recreational drug, rather than a sleep-aid.
So, if you’re using it as intended, chances are you probably don’t need to worry much about seeing things and behaving irrationally…
Though it is possible.
Is Temazepam Addictive?
Temazepam–like all benzodiazepines–carries some risk of addiction.
As is the case with many similar drugs, how addictive it is depends on 2 things:
- How much you take
- How long you use it
This may seem fairly obvious to some, but for those who get prescribed Temazepam, only to experience the worst withdrawal symptoms imaginable when they try to stop taking it, it can be a nightmare.
A recent (2014) study published in the European Journal Of Clinical Pharmacology found that long-term use of hypnotic drugs–Temazepam included–was associated with impaired cognitive function for at least 6 months after withdrawal.
So, is Temazepam safe?
In the short-term, yes.
As a long-term treatment for insomnia, anxiety, or stress, there are definitely some side effects.
Does Temazepam Get You High?
It has a fast onset and relatively long duration, making it ideal for users who are seeking a barbiturate or alcohol type of high.
Because of that, Temazepam has a relatively high potential for abuse.
In the US, the use of Temazepam isn’t as widespread as, say, the UK or Australia.
It’s only the 5th most prescribed drug for sleep disorders in the US, meaning it’s not as readily available to those who wish to use it for the high.
Xanax is much more widely abused and recreational use of designer anti-anxiety drugs like Etizolam is definitely on the rise.
It seems Americans just aren’t as into Temazepam as other countries, but that doesn’t mean the abuse potential is any less.
Temazepam will get you high whether you’re in New York, London, or Sydney. It’s just a matter of availability.
Temazepam is a prescription only drug in pretty much all countries with substance control laws.
In the US, it’s considered a Schedule IV substance, right there with every other benzodiazepine.
The same goes for Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Although the definition of what constitutes a schedule IV substance may change somewhat from country to country, the category is typically reserved for drugs which
- have legitimate medical uses
- have potential for abuse
- are less likely to be abused than Schedule III drugs
That last one is pretty debatable, especially since benzodiazepines are among the most widely abused drugs in the US.
Alternatives To Temazepam
Temazepam is one of the most widely prescribed drugs for sleep disorders in the world, but there are some alternative options.
Zolpidem, also known as Ambien, is by far the most widely prescribed sleep-aid in the US.
The real benefit of Zolpidem is that it’s not a benzodiazepine so it doesn’t cause the type of withdrawals that typical benzodiazepines are known for.
That’s not to say it’s without side effects, but it’s definitely worth considering if you don’t feel like going down the harsh road of benzo addiction just to fix your sleep problems.
Of course, you’ll need a valid prescription from your doctor to get Ambien.
If you’re looking for something that you don’t need a prescription for, try Etizolam.
It’s a thienodiazepine which means it’s chemically related to benzodiazepines and behaves in much the same way, but because it’s unscheduled in the US, you can buy it online legally with no prescription.
The effects are about the same as Xanax, but because it’s longer acting, it makes more sense to use as a sleep-aid.
The Bottom Line on Temazepam
Temazepam is hands down one of the most effective drugs for treating insomnia, anxiety, and other sleep-related disorders.
Relative to other benzos, it requires a fairly high dose to be effective (7-15mg is the average), but this stuff will definitely knock you out if you can’t sleep.
As far as general anxiety or panic disorder goes, there are more effective options, but if it’s longer, deeper sleep you’re after, Temazepam may be the answer…
At least in the short-term.