"Sept. 27, 2012 -- Seniors who take certain kinds of drugs to treat anxiety or insomnia may be more likely to develop dementia than those who do not, a new study shows.
Seniors are often prescribed benzodiazepines or similar drugs to h"...
Sleep disturbance may be the presenting manifestation of an underlying physical and/or psychiatric disorder. Consequently, a decision to initiate symptomatic treatment of insomnia should only be made after the patient has been carefully evaluated. The failure of insomnia to remit after 7 to 10 days of treatment may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. Worsening of insomnia may be the consequence of an unrecognized psychiatric or physical disorder as may the emergence of new abnormalities of thinking or behavior. Such abnormalities have also been reported to occur in association with the use of drugs with central nervous system depressant activity, including those of the benzodiazepine class. Because some of the worrisome adverse effects of benzodiazepines, including Restoril (temazepam) , appear to be dose related (see PRECAUTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION), it is important to use the lowest possible effective dose. Elderly patients are especially at risk.
Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition, e.g., aggressiveness and extroversion that seem out of character, similar to that seen with alcohol. Other kinds of behavioral changes can also occur, for example, bizarre behavior, agitation, hallucinations, and depersonalization. Complex behaviors 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. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-na´ve as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons. Although behaviors such as sleep-driving may occur with Restoril (temazepam) alone at therapeutic doses, the use of alcohol and other CNS depressants with Restoril (temazepam) appears to increase the risk of such behaviors, as does the use of Restoril (temazepam) at doses exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Due to the risk to the patient and the community, discontinuation of Restoril (temazepam) should be strongly considered for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode. Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events. Amnesia and other neuro-psychiatric symptoms may occur unpredictably. In primarily depressed patients, worsening of depression, including suicidal thinking has been reported in association with the use of sedative/hypnotics.
It can rarely be determined with certainty whether a particular instance of the abnormal behaviors listed above is drug induced, spontaneous in origin, or a result of an underlying psychiatric or physical disorder. Nonetheless, the emergence of any new behavioral sign or symptom of concern requires careful and immediate evaluation.
Severe Anaphylactic and Anaphylactoid Reactions
Rare cases of angioedema involving the tongue, glottis or larynx have been reported in patients after taking the first or subsequent doses of sedative-hypnotics, including Restoril (temazepam) . Some patients have had additional symptoms such as dyspnea, throat closing, or nausea and vomiting that suggest anaphylaxis. Some patients have required medical therapy in the emergency department. If angioedema involves the tongue, glottis or larynx, airway obstruction may occur and be fatal.
Patients who develop angioedema after treatment with Restoril (temazepam) should not be rechallenged with the drug.
Since the risk of the development of oversedation, dizziness, confusion, and/or ataxia increases substantially with larger doses of benzodiazepines in elderly and debilitated patients, 7.5 mg of Restoril (temazepam) is recommended as the initial dosage for such patients.
Restoril (temazepam) should be administered with caution in severely depressed patients or those in whom there is any evidence of latent depression; it should be recognized that suicidal tendencies may be present and protective measures may be necessary.
If Restoril (temazepam) is to be combined with other drugs having known hypnotic properties or CNS-depressant effects, consideration should be given to potential additive effects.
The possibility of a synergistic effect exists with the co-administration of Restoril (temazepam) and diphenhydramine. One case of stillbirth at term has been reported 8 hours after a pregnant patient received Restoril (temazepam) and diphenhydramine. A cause and effect relationship has not yet been determined (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Information for Patients
The text of a patient Medication Guide is printed at the end of this insert. To assure safe and effective use of Restoril (temazepam) , the information and instructions provided in this patient Medication Guide should be discussed with patients.
“Sleep-Driving” and Other Complex Behaviors – There have been reports of people getting out of bed after taking a sedative-hypnotic and driving their cars while not fully awake, often with no memory of the event. If a patient experiences such an episode, it should be reported to his or her doctor immediately, since “sleep-driving” can be dangerous. This behavior is more likely to occur when Restoril (temazepam) is taken with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants (see WARNINGS). Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
The usual precautions should be observed in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function and in patients with chronic pulmonary insufficiency. Abnormal liver function tests as well as blood dyscrasias have been reported with benzodiazepines.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity studies were conducted in rats at dietary temazepam doses up to 160 mg/kg/day for 24 months and in mice at dietary doses of 160 mg/kg/day for 18 months. No evidence of carcinogenicity was observed although hyperplastic liver nodules were observed in female mice exposed to the highest dose. The clinical significance of this finding is not known.
Fertility in male and female rats was not adversely affected by Restoril (temazepam) .
No mutagenicity tests have been done with temazepam.
Pregnancy Category X (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Restoril (temazepam) is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Clinical studies of Restoril (temazepam) did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in response between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy commonly observed in this population. Restoril (temazepam) 7.5 mg is recommended as the initial dosage for patients aged 65 and over since the risk of the development of oversedation, dizziness, confusion, ataxia and/or falls increases substantially with larger doses of benzodiazepines in elderly and debilitated patients.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/13/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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