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.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. 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?

0.125 mg
Each violet, oval, flat-faced, bevelled-edged, scored tablet, identified "APO" over ".125", contains triazolam 0.125 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red No. 3 Aluminum Lake, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

0.25 mg
Each pale blue, oval, flat-faced, bevelled-edged, scored tablet, identified "APO" over "0.25", contains triazolam 0.25 mg. 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.

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, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is several hours later and taking the medication will interfere with your next day's activities, 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 severe breathing difficulties
  • have sleep apnea
  • have uncorrected narrow-angle glaucoma

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.

  • abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
  • blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • changes in sexual desire or ability
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth or increased thirst
  • false sense of well-being
  • headache
  • increased bronchial secretions or watering of mouth
  • muscle spasm
  • nausea or vomiting
  • problems with urination
  • slurred speech
  • trembling or shaking
  • 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:

  • abnormal thinking (disorientation, delusions, or loss of sense of reality)
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • behavioural changes, including:
    • aggressiveness
    • angry outbursts
    • bizarre behaviour
    • decreased inhibition
  • confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • depression
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • hallucinations
  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • lack of memory (of events taking place after the medication was taken)
  • muscle weakness
  • skin rash or itching
  • sore throat, fever, and chills
  • trouble sleeping
  • ulcers or sores in mouth or throat
  • uncontrolled movements of body, including the eyes
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)
  • yellow eyes or skin

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

Anxiety, restlessness: An increase in daytime anxiety or restlessness has been observed during treatment with triazolam.

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 behavioral changes have been reported (e.g., aggressiveness). Particular caution is warranted in patients with a history of violent behaviour.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Do not engage in hazardous activities that require 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 amnesia for the event) have been reported in patients who have taken triazolam.

Memory disturbance: Amnesia of varying severity has been reported following normal doses this medication. Elderly patients are at particular risk.

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

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking triazolam 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: The sedative effects of triazolam may affect seniors more than others. Extra caution is needed, for example, when getting up during the night.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

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

  • alcohol
  • anticonvulsants (e.g., phenytoin)
  • antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline)
  • antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine)
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., ketoconazole, fluconazole, miconazole, voriconazole)
  • barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital, secobarbital)
  • birth control pills
  • cimetidine
  • diltiazem
  • disulfiram
  • fluvoxamine
  • grapefruit juice
  • indinavir
  • macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin, clarithromycin)
  • narcotics (e.g., morphine, hydromorphone)
  • nefazodone
  • NNRT inhibitors (e.g., delavirdine, efavirenz)
  • omeprazole
  • other benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam)
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • ritonavir
  • theophyllines (e.g., aminophylline, oxtriphylline, theophylline)

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.