BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs


Brand name None

Used in the following combined preparations None


Drug group Benzodiazepine sleeping drug

Overdose danger rating Medium

Dependence rating High

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic Yes


Temazepam belongs to a group of drugs known as the benzodiazepines. The actions and adverse effects of this group of drugs are described more fully under Anti-anxiety drugs.

Temazepam is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. Because it is short acting compared with other benzodiazepines, the drug is less likely to cause drowsiness and/or lightheadedness the following day. Temazepam is not usually effective in preventing early morning wakening.

Like other benzodiazepine drugs, temazepam can be habit-forming if taken regularly over a long period. Its effects also grow weaker with time. For these reasons, treatment with temazepam is usually only continued for a few days at a time.


Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Tablets, liquid.

Frequency and timing of doses Once daily, 30 minutes before bedtime.

Adult dosage range 10–40mg.

Onset of effect 15–40 minutes, or longer.

Duration of action 6–8 hours.

Diet advice None.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children. Protect from light.

Missed dose If you fall asleep without having taken a dose and wake some hours later, do not take the missed dose. If necessary, return to your normal dose schedule the following night.

Stopping the drug If you have been taking the drug continuously for less than 2 weeks, it can be safely stopped as soon as you no longer need it. If you have been taking the drug for longer, consult your doctor, who may supervise a gradual reduction in dosage. Stopping abruptly may lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra dose is unlikely to be a cause for concern. Large overdoses may cause severe drowsiness and breathing problems. Consult your doctor immediately.


The principal adverse effects of temazepam are related to its sedative and tranquillizing properties. However, these effects usually diminish after the first few days of treatment. Common adverse effects include daytime drowsiness and headache. More rarely, the drug may cause dizziness, unsteadiness, vivid dreams or nightmares, forgetfulness, and confusion. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these rarer effects; if forgetfulness or confusion occur, you should also stop taking the drug.


Sedatives All drugs that have a sedative effect on the central nervous system are likely to increase the sedative properties of temazepam. Such drugs include other anti-anxiety and sleeping drugs, opioid analgesics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and antipsychotics.


Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You have severe respiratory disease.

· You suffer from porphyria.

· You have liver or kidney problems.

· You have myasthenia gravis.

· You have had problems with alcohol or drug abuse.

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy Not usually recommended; may cause adverse effects on newborn baby at the time of delivery. Discuss with your doctor.

Breast-feeding The drug passes into the breast milk, and should be avoided during breast-feeding if possible. Discuss with your doctor.

Infants and children Not recommended.

Over 60 Reduced dose may be necessary. Increased likelihood of adverse effects.

Driving and hazardous work Avoid such activities until you have learned how temazepam affects you because the drug can cause reduced alertness and slowed reactions.

Alcohol Avoid. Alcohol may increase the sedative effect of this drug.


Regular use of this drug over several weeks can lead to a reduction in its effect as the body adapts. It may also be habit-forming when taken for extended periods and withdrawal symptoms may occur when the drug is stopped. Temazepam should not normally be used for longer than 1–2 weeks.