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Temazepam is a benzodiazepine drug that works by slowing down brain activity, helping an individual to get sleep.

7 Minute Read | Published Oct 04 2023 | Updated Feb 29 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Common Brand Names: Restoril, Euphynos, Normison, Norkotral, Norem, Ramestan, Signopam, Temaze, Temtab, Tenox

Temazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug belonging to the class of substances known as benzodiazepines. It has a similar mode of action as drugs like diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). However, unlike these two drugs, which are used for anxiety disorders, temazepam is primarily used in the short-term treatment of insomnia.

Because of its relaxing sedative effect, temazepam could be misused, potentially leading to physical dependence and even to benzodiazepine use disorder.

Uses of Temazepam

Temazepam is used on a short-term basis for the treatment of insomnia, a condition in which the patient has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Temazepam has also been authorized by the U.S. military for use in pharmacological fatigue countermeasures to improve the performance of aircrew members.

How People Abuse Temazepam

Although benzodiazepines are among the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, temazepam is less a subject of misuse because other benzodiazepines are more regularly prescribed for the treatment of insomnia. Temazepam is still abused, however, and in several ways:

  • Self-medicating or self-treating symptoms of insomnia using the temazepam
  • Misusing another individual’s prescription to obtain the drug
  • Taking more than the acceptable daily dose, particularly because temazepam is seen as a “weaker” benzodiazepine
  • Mixing temazepam with alcohol, opioid drugs, and stimulants
  • Crushing temazepam tablets and injecting into one’s veins
  • Consuming in other ways not prescribed by doctors

Concomitant use of temazepam with opioids, in particular, presents serious risks of profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.

Drugs That Interact with Temazepam

Certain drugs can magnify the central nervous system (CNS) depressant effects of temazepam, and these include the following types of drugs:

  • Opioids: Combining temazepam with opioids puts an individual at increased risk of respiratory depression because these drugs interact at different sites of the CNS that control respiration. In particular, temazepam interacts at GABA-A sites while opioids interact with mu receptors, respectively.
  • Muscle relaxants: Taking drugs like carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine with temazepam may also produce additional CNS depression.
  • Antihistamines: Concomitant use of temazepam with antihistamines like cetirizine and diphenhydramine may also magnify its CNS depressant effects.

Side Effects of Temazepam

Common side effects can manifest when temazepam is taken. These include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Hangover effect (grogginess the day after taking the drug)
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and other gastrointestinal complaints
  • Lethargy
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors

Some side effects of taking temazepam can point to a serious adverse event. Make sure to contact 911 immediately if you happen to notice the following side effects in yourself or another individual:

  • Skin rashes
  • Hives or itchy, raised welts on the skin
  • Raspy or strained voice
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Swollen face throat, lips, tongue, and eyes

Possible Long-Term Effects of Temazepam

Chronic use of temazepam can result in other effects that may manifest days or weeks later. These include:

  • Temazepam addiction
  • Thoughts and behaviors that are not normal (e.g. suicidal ideation)
  • Physical and psychological dependence
  • Fetal harm (in pregnant women)

 Temazepam Overdose Symptoms

Overdosing on temazepam is very much a possibility as well for individuals who abuse it. Immediately call emergency services or 911 if you observe the following signs in yourself or another individual:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confused state of mind
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or labored breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Deep sleep from which the person can’t be awakened

Signs of Temazepam Addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists 11 criteria for substance use disorders (SUDs). These criteria represent the pathological behaviors relating to abuse of drugs, including temazepam.

  1. Taking more and more of temazepam or taking it longer than intended
  2. Wanting to stop or reduce use of temazepam yet not being able to
  3. Spending more and more time getting, using, or recovering from use of temazepam
  4. Craving to use temazepam
  5. Inability to manage commitments due to use of temazepam
  6. Continuing use of temazepam despite having problems with relationships
  7. Missing or giving up important activities because of temazepam use
  8. Repeated use of temazepam even when it puts you in danger
  9. Continuing to use temazepam despite the risk of worsening physical and psychological problems
  10. Needing higher and higher amounts of the temazepam to achieve the desired effects (tolerance)
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms

Temazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Aside from overdose and misuse, abrupt cessation following chronic temazepam use can also cause withdrawal symptoms, many of which are similar in character to those observed with barbiturate and alcohol withdrawal. These include:

  • Sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal and muscle cramps
  • Vomiting

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you cease using temazepam, it could mean that you have developed dependence on the drug. This is because over time, your body will have adjusted to the presence of the substance.

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted to temazepam. In fact, even individuals who take the drug at therapeutic levels could develop a dependence to it, albeit the withdrawal symptoms will generally be milder. If you’ve been receiving excessive doses of the drug over a long period of time, you will definitely need the help of a medical professional who can create a tapering schedule for you.

Temazepam Detoxification

Abrupt temazepam cessation should be avoided if an individual has been on extended therapy or has been abusing temazepam at doses higher than 15mg.A proper detoxification regimen will have to be designed to manage unpleasant withdrawal side effects while the substance is gradually removed from the patient’s body.

Here are just some of the things you can expect during a temazepam detox program:

  • You will be supported 24/7 by a team of professionals who will ensure your safety and comfort at the detox facility.
  • A gradual tapering schedule will likely be given to you, especially if you are a high-risk patient.
  • Switching you to a long half-life benzodiazepine may be recommended if determined to be clinically appropriate.

Treating Temazepam Addiction

There are many well-recognized drawbacks of prolonged benzodiazepine abuse. These include dependence, cognitive decline, and addiction. If you or a member of your family is facing benzodiazepine use disorder because of misusing temazepam, you should know that a professional addiction treatment program can help you. Treatment for temazepam and other benzodiazepine addictions can be done in outpatient or inpatient facilities:

  • Outpatient temazepam addiction treatment: The less-intensive option, an outpatient arrangement is ideal for individuals with lower risk profiles and milder forms of addiction. If you’re given the option to undergo outpatient treatment, you can continue living in your home and going about many of the daily activities that you’re already used to. You just have to attend therapy and counseling at a treatment center.
  • Inpatient temazepam addiction treatment: Individuals at the top of the risk spectrum will likely need to be admitted to an inpatient facility, where they can receive the best level of care possible from qualified professionals. On top of receiving round-the-clock care, this intensive arrangement will ensure that you’ll properly receive a range of treatment modalities aimed at helping you get better.

Treatment for substance use disorder is generally multimodal, involving a mix of different approaches, including psychological treatment. Behavioral and psychosocial approaches have been shown to decrease risk for relapse and speed up recovery. Counseling, when done individually, with family members, or with a group, can help to change one’s attitude and behavior towards drug use. It is also known that undergoing therapy helps people in sticking to their medical treatment as well as developing healthy coping mechanisms and life skills.

Psychological treatment, when done with dose reduction, is also more effective at treating benzodiazepine use disorder compared to dose reduction alone.

Find Treatment Today

Whether it’s you yourself or a loved one who’s dealing with temazepam addiction, you should know that most insurance plans provide a level of coverage for addiction treatment services. You can even get inpatient or outpatient care for substance use disorder even if you don’t have insurance.

Call us today (800) 429-7690 to speak to a recovery support advisor. They will be able to verify your insurance coverage or help you find other ways to finance your temazepam addiction treatment. Finding the right treatment facility is just a call away.

A Short History of Temazepam

Benzodiazepines were first developed in the 1950s during the search for possible alternatives to barbiturates. Eventually, agents like diazepam became the preferred choice for treating anxiety because they had less side effects than barbiturates. Over time, researchers discovered that some metabolites of early benzodiazepines can also be used for their sedating effect. Temazepam was one of these metabolites of diazepam in the body. It was first synthesized in the laboratory in 1964, and commercial use of it began in 1981 under the brand name Restoril.


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bullet Caldwell, J.A. & Caldwell, J.L. (2005)
"Fatigue in Military Aviation: An Overview of US Military-Approved Pharmacological Countermeasures"
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bullet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016)
"Restoril (temazepam) Capsules USP"
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bullet Bounds, C.G. & Nelson, V.L. (2020)
"Benzodiazepines. StatPearls"
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bullet American Psychiatric Association (2013)
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.)"
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bullet Brett, J. & Murnion, B. (2015)
"Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence. Australian Prescriber"
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bullet Heel, C., Brogden, R. N., Brogden, Speight, T. M., & Avery G. S. (2012)
"Temazepam: A Review of its Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Efficacy as an Hypnotic. Drugs"
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bullet U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.(n.d)
"Drug Scheduling"
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