"What are benzodiazepines, and how do they work?
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions. The exact mechanism of action of benzodiaz"...
ProSom (estazolam) , like other benzodiazepines, has CNS depressant effects. For this reason, patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness, such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle, after ingesting the drug, including potential impairment of the performance of such activities that may occur the day following ingestion of ProSom (estazolam) . Patients should also be cautioned about possible combined effects with alcohol and other CNS depressant drugs.
As with all benzodiazepines, amnesia, paradoxical reactions (eg, excitement, agitation, etc.), and other adverse behavioral effects may occur unpredictably.
There have been reports of withdrawal signs and symptoms of the type associated with withdrawal from CNS depressant drugs following the rapid decrease or the abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines (see Drug Abuse And Dependence). Estazolam Interaction with Drugs that Inhibit Metabolism via Cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A): The metabolism of estazolam to the major circulating metabolite 4-hydroxy-estazolam and the metabolism of other triazolobenzodiazepines is catalyzed by CYP3A. Consequently, estazolam should be avoided in patients receiving ketoconazole and itraconazole, which are very potent inhibitors of CYP3A (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). With drugs inhibiting CYP3A to a lesser, but still significant degree, estazolam should be used only with caution and consideration of appropriate dosage reduction. The following are examples of drugs known to inhibit the metabolism of other related benzodiazepines, presumably through inhibition of CYP3A: nefazodone, fluvoxamine, cimetidine, diltiazem, isoniazide, and some macrolide antibiotics.
While no in vivo drug-drug interaction studies were conducted between estazolam and inducers of CYP3A, compounds that are potent CYP3A inducers (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin, and barbiturates) would be expected to decrease estazolam concentrations.
General: Impaired motor and/or cognitive performance attributable to the accumulation of benzodiazepines and their active metabolites following several days of repeated use at their recommended doses is a concern in certain vulnerable patients (eg, those especially sensitive to the effects of benzodiazepines or those with a reduced capacity to metabolize and eliminate them) (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Elderly or debilitated patients and those with impaired renal or hepatic function should be cautioned about these risks and advised to monitor themselves for signs of excessive sedation or impaired conditions.
ProSom (estazolam) appears to cause dose-related respiratory depression that is ordinarily not clinically relevant at recommended doses in patients with normal respiratory function. However, patients with compromised respiratory function may be at risk and should be monitored appropriately. As a class, benzodiazepines have the capacity to depress respiratory drive; there are insufficient data available, however, to characterize their relative potency in depressing respiratory drive at clinically recommended doses.
As with other benzodiazepines, ProSom (estazolam) should be administered with caution to patients exhibiting signs or symptoms of depression. Suicidal tendencies may be present in such patients and protective measures may be required. Intentional overdosage is more common in this group of patients; therefore, the least amount of drug that is feasible should be prescribed for the patient at any one time.
Laboratory Tests: Laboratory tests are not ordinarily required in otherwise healthy patients. When treatment with ProSom (estazolam) is protracted, periodic blood counts, urinalyses, and blood chemistry analyses are advisable.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: Two-year carcinogenicity studies were conducted in mice and rats at dietary doses of 0.8, 3, and 10 mg/kg/day and 0.5, 2, and 10 mg/kg/day, respectively. Evidence of tumorigenicity was not observed in either study. Incidence of hyperplastic liver nodules increased in female mice given the mid- and high-dose levels.
The significance of such nodules in mice is not known at this time.
In vitro and in vivo mutagenicity tests including the Ames test, DNA repair in B. subtilis, in vivo cytogenetics in mice and rats, and the dominant lethal test in mice did not show a mutagenic potential for estazolam.
Fertility in male and female rats was not affected by doses up to 30 times the usual recommended human dose.
- Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category X (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
- Nonteratogenic Effects: The child born of a mother taking benzodiazepines may be at some risk for withdrawal symptoms during the postnatal period. Neonatal flaccidity has been reported in an infant born of a mother who received benzodiazepines during pregnancy.
Labor and Delivery: ProSom (estazolam) has no established use in labor or delivery.
Nursing Mothers: Human studies have not been conducted; however, studies in lactating rats indicate that estazolam and/or its metabolites are secreted in the milk. The use of ProSom (estazolam) in nursing mothers is not recommended.
Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients below the age of 18 have not been established.
Geriatric Use: Approximately 18% of individuals participating in the premarketing clinical trials of ProSom (estazolam) were 60 years of age or older. Overall, the adverse event profile did not differ substantively from that observed in younger individuals. Care should be exercised when prescribing benzodiazepines to small or debilitated elderly patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/19/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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