What are the side effects of Nitrazepam?

Nitrazepam belongs to the Benzodiazepine class of medications and is FDA approved for the treatment of sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia. This medication prolongs the time of sleep and decreases the time for falling asleep. It is not to be taken by children and should be monitored when taken by adults.

The therapeutic, commonly known by the brand name Mogadon, may cause mild side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and confusion, lack of coordination, double vision, and weak muscles. These are some of the common side effects that may occur in about 1 out of 10 people using the medication.

Some uncommon side effects that 1 out of 100 people will experience, includes unintentional shaking of the body, inability to concentrate, and difficulty falling asleep. Extreme, but rare cases include muscle cramps, low BP, nausea, sexual difficulties, and impaired vision.

These rare cases usually occur in 1 out of 1, 000 people and is dependent on the person’s medical and family history. Other side-effects include allergies (if one is allergic to Nitrazepam or its ingredients), liver disease, suicidal ideation, dependency, and withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing the medication.

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How can I manage the side effects?

There are many ways in which the side-effects of Nitrazepam can be managed and controlled by the individual using this medication.

  • Firstly, severe side-effects should be reported and treated immediately before it persists and worsens.
  • Other side effects can be managed by decreasing the dose to lower the risk of effects. For example, if an individual experiences adverse effects after taking 2 pills, then he/she should consider taking half of the initial dose. Another example is if the person takes the medication daily and is beginning to experience some adverse effects, he/she should try administering the pill every second day instead.
  • Another way to manage side effects would be using other medication to treat the effects. After reporting your symptoms to your doctor, they would prescribe appropriate medication to decrease the intensity of effects.
  • Misusing or abusing this medication may aggravate side effects; therefore it is important to administer the medication according to your prescription. It is not recommended that you should not increase your dose without professional advice as this may lead to an overdose.
  • Always make sure to consult with your doctor and report any allergies or uncommon reactions to the medication.
  • Do not stop using this therapeutic abruptly, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Always consult your doctor who will inform you when and how to stop the medication.

How does the therapeutic help with insomnia?

Benzodiazepines have been used more commonly than any other medication because of the desirable effects the medication produces. This medication consists of muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant and sedative effects, therefore it is a perfect treatment for insomnia. Benzodiazepines are similar in the way they work in the brain and body and usually cause similar effects.

Studies have shown that this therapeutic decreased awakening during the night, increased sleep time, and improved the time taken to fall asleep.  People who have used this medication have reported that they experienced better quality and quantity of sleep.

The medication works to induce sleep by increasing the activity of GABA receptors, these receptors respond to a neurotransmitter in the brain called the gamma-aminobutyric acid. This neurotransmitter is dispersed and utilized in the CNS causing depression. Depression means that there will be a slowed-down activity causing people to give in to sedation.

The medication simply speeds up this process and releases more GABA receptors into the CNS. The workings of this medication are rapid; hence it is advised to be taken at least 30 minutes before sleep time. It is therefore a fast-acting medication that has a short onset period allowing for individuals to attain their good night’s sleep.

How and when should I take this medication?

This medication is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia and may only be taken for a period of four weeks. Re-examination of an individual’s sleeping patterns should be conducted before usage time is extended. The medication is only to be used when sleeping difficulties persist and disrupt everyday routines. This therapeutic commonly comes in 5mg and 10mg tablets, where 5mg is used as an initial dose for individuals over the age of 18. However, this dose can only be increased, if necessary, for those between the ages of 18 and 65.

The medication is to be taken orally after food and 30 minutes before bedtime, preferably with water. When taking the therapeutic, individuals must be certain to have at least seven to nine hours of undisturbed sleep, otherwise, they may experience daytime sleepiness and impairment in general activities the next day (such as driving).

The medication is advised by doctors to not be taken the night before making big decisions, as it may impair cognition as well. Studies show that daytime sleepiness is one of the most common side effects and therefore the tablet is advised to be taken when individuals are able to rest even the next day.


Can the therapeutic interact with other medication and alcohol?

When using other medication or alcohol together with nitrazepam, side effects may worsen or you may not experience the effects you desire. Medication such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, other sedatives and hypnotics, antihistamines, muscle relaxers, medication for high blood pressure and gout, and anesthetics do not interact well with nitrazepam.

Sedatives and hypnotics may lead to an over-sedation, causing individuals to sleep longer than usual and may impair reality. Some interactions of the medications mentioned above may cause it to underwork or in some cases overwork in the system.

Other interactions may lead to a slow or fast release of the therapeutic from the system; which means longer periods of sedation. According to Weathermon and Crabb (1999), the interaction with alcohol increases sedative effects and impairs the judgment of an individual.

The interaction may also cause severe central nervous system (CNS) and memory impairment. It is essential to be aware of the medications you are using with the therapeutic as Nitrazepam side effects and the other medication or alcohol effects may increase unnecessarily – causing more serious adverse effects.