Medication Search: Triazolam

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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Triazolam belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is used for the short-term (usually no more than 7 to 10 days) relief of sleep disturbances. It can be helpful for people who have difficulty falling asleep. Triazolam is not recommended for early morning awakenings.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each pale blue, oval, flat-faced, bevelled-edged, scored tablet, identified "APO" over "0.25", contains 0.25 mg of triazolam. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of triazolam ranges from 0.125 mg to 0.25 mg taken before bedtime. The starting dose is usually 0.125 mg taken immediately before bedtime. The lowest effective dose of the medication should be used. Your doctor may increase the dose if necessary.

This medication should not normally be used for more than 7 to 10 consecutive days as triazolam is habit-forming. If used for more than a few weeks, this medication may lose some of its effectiveness (meaning the dose needs to be increased to have the same effect) and may also cause some dependence.  Do not stop using the medication without speaking with your doctor. To avoid withdrawal effects, a gradual reduction in dose is usually recommended when stopping this medication.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take more medication than prescribed.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to triazolam or any ingredients of this medication
  • are pregnant
  • have a history of substance or alcohol abuse
  • have myasthenia gravis
  • have a form of glaucoma called narrow-angle glaucoma
  • are taking certain medications, including but not limited to cimetidine, erythromycin, ketoconazole, itraconazole, and some HIV protease inhibitors

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • changed sense of taste
  • constipation
  • decreased interest in sexual activity
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty urinating
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • eye irritation or redness
  • false sense of well-being
  • gas
  • general feeling of being unwell
  • headache
  • hot or cold flashes
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • prickling, burning feeling of the skin
  • skin rash
  • sweating
  • unusual dreams
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • behavioural changes, including:
    • aggressiveness
    • agitation
    • angry outbursts
    • anxiety
    • bizarre behaviour
    • decreased inhibition
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • fainting
  • hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there)
  • hearing loss
  • high blood pressure
  • lack of memory (of events taking place after the medication was taken)
  • muscle weakness or decreased coordination causing falls or injuries
  • ringing in the ears
  • sleepwalking
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual swelling of the feet, ankles, arms, or hands
  • vision changes
  • withdrawal symptoms (e.g., stomach cramps, uneasiness, restlessness, anxiety, headache, sensitivity to light, noise or contact, nausea, vomiting, sweating, prickling, tingling feeling in extremities, feeling disconnected from reality, hallucinations)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • seizures
  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
  • slow, shallow, or weak breathing
  • symptoms of too much medication (e.g., extreme sleepiness, confusion, slurred speech, slow shallow breathing, loss of balance or coordination, low blood pressure, and uncontrolled rolling of the eyes)
  • thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Addiction potential: Triazolam is habit-forming. Withdrawal symptoms similar to those occurring with other benzodiazepines (as well as with alcohol) have been observed after stopping triazolam suddenly when it has been taken regularly over a period of time (more than 2 weeks). These symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • agitation
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • extreme anxiety
  • headache
  • irritability
  • memory impairment
  • muscle pain
  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • sleep problems
  • tension
  • tremors
  • vomiting

Alcohol and other medications that cause drowsiness: People taking this medication should not combine it with alcohol and avoid combining it with other medications, such as narcotic pain relievers, that cause drowsiness. Doing so can cause additional drowsiness and reduced breathing as well as other side effects, which can be dangerous and potentially fatal. 

Behaviour changes: Using triazolam can cause an increase in daytime anxiety or restlessness. There have also been reports of aggressive behaviour or hostility, anxiousness, disorientation or decreased memory.

As with other medications to help with sleep problems, these effects are more likely to happen to seniors. If you experience any of these effects or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Breathing problems: Triazolam, like many other sedative medications can suppress breathing. If you have asthma, other lung disease, or sleep apnea, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Confusion: This medication may affect mental efficiency (e.g., concentration, attention, and vigilance). The risk of confusion is greater for seniors and for those with brain injury.

Depression or psychosis: Triazolam is not recommended for use by people with depression or psychosis. Abnormal thinking and psychotic behavioural changes have been reported (e.g., aggressiveness). Particular caution is warranted for patients with a history of violent behaviour. If you have a history of mental illness, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Avoid performing hazardous activities requiring complete mental alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, until the effects of triazolam wear off. Using alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness or sedation is also not recommended.

Complex sleep-related behaviours such as "sleep-driving" (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with no memory of the event) have been reported by patients who have taken triazolam. The use of alcohol or other medications that cause drowsiness seems to increase the risk of this happening.

Falls and fractures: Triazolam can cause unsteadiness and weakness, leading to falls and injuries. This is more likely to occur with older adults or people taking other medications that can cause dizziness or drowsiness.

Glaucoma: This medication may cause the symptoms of glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) to worsen. If you have glaucoma, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Report any changes in vision to your doctor as soon as possible while you are taking this medication.

Kidney function: If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Memory loss: Triazolam may affect your ability to learn or retain new information, usually several hours after taking the medication. This may occur even at normal doses. It is recommended to avoid taking triazolam if you plan to be active within 8 hours of taking the dose, such as on overnight flights.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if triazolam passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and taking this medication it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of triazolam for children below the age of 18 have not been established.

Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience the sedative effects of triazolam, such as drowsiness, dizziness, memory loss, or impaired coordination. Extra caution is needed, for example, when getting up during the night. Lower doses should be used. Using doses that are too high may result in accidents such as falls. Talk to your doctor if you are a senior and are experiencing any of the above side effects.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between triazolam and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • alpha agonists (e.g., clonidine, guanfacine)
  • amiodarone
  • antihistamines (e.g., azelastine, cetirizine, doxylamine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, loratadine)
  • antipsychotics (e.g., aripiprazole, cariprazine, chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
  • apalutamide
  • aprepitant
  • avacopan
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., ketoconazole, fluconazole, miconazole, voriconazole)
  • barbiturates (e.g., butalbital, phenobarbital)
  • other benzodiazepines (e.g., clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam)
  • bicalutamide
  • bosentan
  • brimonidine
  • buprenorphine
  • butorphanol
  • calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, verapamil)
  • cannabis
  • chloral hydrate
  • cimetidine
  • ciprofloxacin
  • cobicistat
  • cyclosporine
  • danazol
  • dimenhydrinate
  • diphenoxylate
  • dronedarone
  • elagolix
  • entacapone
  • enzalutamide
  • esketamine
  • everolimus
  • flibanserin
  • flunarizine
  • fluvoxamine
  • general anesthetics (medications used to put people to sleep before surgery)
  • glecaprevir
  • grapefruit juice
  • HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., efavirenz, etravirine)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, tipranavir)
  • isoniazid
  • kava kava
  • lemborexant
  • lenacapavir
  • letermovir
  • lomitapide
  • lumacaftor and ivacaftor
  • macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin, clarithromycin)
  • melatonin
  • methadone
  • metoclopramide
  • mirtazapine
  • mifepristone
  • modafinil
  • muscle relaxants (e.g., baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine)
  • nabilone
  • narcotics (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, tapentadol, tramadol)
  • nirmatrelvir and ritonavir
  • omeprazole
  • peppermint
  • pizotifen
  • pomalidomide
  • pramipexole
  • pregabalin
  • propiverine
  • protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., ceritinib, crizotinib, dabrafenib, imatinib, nilotinib, pazopanib)
  • ranitidine
  • ranolazine
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • ropinirole
  • rotigotine
  • St. John’s wort
  • seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, clobazam, gabapentin, levetiracetam, phenytoin, primidone, rufinamide, topiramate, valproic acid)
  • sodium oxybate
  • spironolactone
  • tetrabenazine
  • thalidomide
  • theophyllines (e.g., aminophylline, theophylline)
  • tizanidine
  • trazodone
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine)
  • valerian
  • zolpidem
  • zopiclone

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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Last Updated: 18/06/2024