How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Flurazepam belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is used to treat short-term sleep problems associated with difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or early awakenings.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones 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?
Apo-Flurazepam is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under flurazepam. This article is being kept available fro reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended adult dose of flurazepam ranges from 15 mg to 30 mg and is taken before bedtime. Flurazepam should not be taken for longer than 7 to 10 consecutive days unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The recommended starting dose for seniors is 15 mg. If you take this medication on a regular basis for extended periods of time, it may become habit-forming (i.e., causing mental or physical dependence).
Many things can affect the dose of 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 above, 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. Do not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor.
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 flurazepam or any ingredients of this medication
- are allergic to other benzodiazepines
- have a severe reduction in liver function
- have myasthenia gravis
- have sleep apnea or other conditions that cause breathing impairment
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.
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- difficulty with coordination
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:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
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.
Behaviour changes: This medication may cause changes in behavior. If you experience aggressiveness and extroversion, confusion, restlessness, or hallucinations, or notice these changes in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor.
Complex sleep behaviour: There have been reports of people sleepwalking and performing more complex activities after having taken flurazepam, but not being aware of what they were doing. People have been reported as driving, leaving the house, making and eating food, and not remembering doing so the next morning.
Performing these activities puts yourself and others at risk. If you are made aware of these sleep-behaviours, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
Confusion: Flurazepam affects mental efficiency, e.g., concentration, attention, and vigilance. The risk of confusion is greater for seniors and for people with brain injury.
Depression: Flurazepam, like other benzodiazepines, has been known to cause mood swings and symptoms of depression. If you have depression or a history of depression, 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.
If you experience symptoms of depression such as poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: This medication may affect the mental or physical abilities needed to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Memory disturbance: Medications such as flurazepam can cause memory loss (amnesia). Amnesia of varying severity has been reported following normal doses of this medication. Elderly patients are at particular risk.
Substance abuse: People with a history of substance or alcohol abuse may be more likely to become dependent on flurazepam. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the risks of using this medication if you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
Withdrawal: Flurazepam can become habit-forming. Withdrawal symptoms similar to those occurring with other benzodiazepines as well as alcohol have been observed after stopping flurazepam suddenly after having taken it regularly over a period of time. These symptoms include:
- abdominal cramps
- extreme anxiety
- memory impairment
- muscle pain
- sleep problems
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: The safety of using flurazepam while breast-feeding has not been established. Therefore, it should not be taken by nursing mothers.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of flurazepam have not been established for children younger than 15 years of age.
Seniors: Seniors should use the smallest possible effective dose of this medication. Inappropriate, heavy sedation may result in accidents and falls for seniors.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between flurazepam and any of the following:
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 that 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.