Restoril Effects, Risks, Addiction, & Treatment

Restoril is the brand name for temazepam. It is a benzodiazepine prescribed to people with insomnia. However, it is also used recreationally. Any misuse or long-term use of Restoril can lead to addiction or other negative side effects.
Evidence Based
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What is Restoril?

Restoril is the brand name for temazepam, a medication that is prescribed to people with insomnia and sleep disorders. Restoril is a benzodiazepine, a type of prescription drug that slows down central nervous system (CNS) activity. CNS depressants increase pathways in the brain that make people feel more relaxed and sleepy.

Restoril is a short-term treatment option for sleep problems because long-term use can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Restoril is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. However, withdrawal symptoms similar to those of barbiturates may occur during abrupt discontinuation of use. Restoril is only available through a prescription from your healthcare provider and should be used only as directed.

Restoril usually helps people start sleeping better within seven to 10 days.

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Side Effects of Restoril

Some people experience side effects when they take this medication. Common side effects of temazepam include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hangover-like symptoms the next day
  • Sleep-walking
  • Sleep-driving

Restoril is designed to help people who have trouble sleeping get a full night’s sleep, so you should only take it if you plan on sleeping for 7 to 8 hours. If you get up early, you may still feel tired or have memory problems.

Some side effects are rare and are a sign of a severe allergic reaction. If someone experiences these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical care:

  • Rash
  • Swelling in the face or mouth
  • Problems breathing or swallowing

Older adults are more likely to have serious side effects. Doctors often prescribe lower doses to elderly patients 65 or older. Seniors are also at an increased risk of falling when they are taking Restoril.

Pregnant women should not use Restoril, as it may cause birth defects in the unborn baby. This medication can also be passed through breast milk, so it should not be used when breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug abuse, mental illness, thoughts of suicide, or lung disease.

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Risks of Restoril

Restoril can sometimes affect people’s behavior in unusual ways. For example, some people who take this medication sleepwalk, or do other activities like eating or driving while sleeping. Additionally, one study found that Restoril could harm a person’s driving ability, although other studies found that people are not more likely to get in accidents.

Don’t drive while using Restoril until you have a better idea of how it affects you. Also, talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.

Two pills mixing equals dangerous

Restoril Drug Interactions

In recent years, a growing number of people have needed to go to the emergency room due to problems with benzodiazepines. This is more common for people who are older or who are combining these medications with other substances. In particular, Restoril shouldn’t be combined with opioid medications such as codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and tramadol.

Use of benzodiazepines and opioids both slow down processes in the body and brain. In addition, when they are taken together, they can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, difficulties breathing, coma, and death.

You should not use Restoril if you are taking other benzodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Valium, Xanax, and others. Don't use sedative-hypnotics (sleep medications including zolpidem), or antihistamines (cetirizine, diphenhydramine) .

People who take Restoril and drink alcohol or use illicit drugs can also experience dangerous adverse effects. People who use this drug should tell their doctor about all other medications and supplements they are taking. These include antidepressants, allergy medications, digoxin, anti-anxiety medication, seizure medication, other sleep aids, and tranquilizers.

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Restoril Overdose

In rare cases, people may overdose from taking too much Restoril. Signs of an overdose may include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Passing out
  • Respiratory depression (breathing problems)

If you experience any of these symptoms call 911 or contact a health care professional immediately.

Graphic of head filled with pills

Restoril Abuse & Addiction

The majority of people who use benzodiazepines don’t have problems with abuse or addiction. However, a small percentage of people may develop tolerance or dependence. Tolerance happens when the body gets used to having Restoril in the system, and a person’s usual dose doesn’t work as well. Dependence happens when a person goes through withdrawal once they stop taking Restoril. Addiction is a disease where a person can’t control their drug use.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms while taking Restoril:

  • You need to take a higher dose in order to feel the same effects
  • You have symptoms such as depression, sweating, or nausea if you miss a dose of Restoril
  • You’re using Restoril along with other substances, including other sleep aids or alcohol
  • You’re experiencing problems at work, school, or home because of your Restoril use, but you can’t seem to stop taking it

The best way to avoid tolerance, dependence, and addiction is to use all of your medicines exactly as directed. People are more likely to have problems if they take Restoril in higher doses than recommended, use it for long periods of time, or take it recreationally. If someone has had problems with addiction in the past, or if they have family members who have misused drugs or alcohol, they may be more likely to become tolerant or dependent on Restoril.

In 2018, around 2 percent of the U.S. population, or 5.4 million people, misused benzodiazepines.

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Addiction Treatment

If you decide to stop taking Restoril, your doctor will most likely reduce your dose slowly over time. This is because Restoril can cause withdrawal symptoms in people who suddenly stop taking it. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Sweating
  • Stomach and muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Most people who experience withdrawal only have mild symptoms. People are more likely to have severe symptoms if they have been taking Restoril in high doses or for a long time.

People who are having trouble with benzodiazepine dependence or addiction should receive medical help. There aren’t any drugs approved to treat this condition, but rehab services and counseling can help. In particular, studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective. Professional treatment helps people develop new habits and stop using benzodiazepines.


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Resources

“Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, August 2019

“Prescription CNS Depressants.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, March 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants

“Restoril (Temazepam) Capsules USP.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 2016.

Rudisill, Toni M., Motao Zhu, George A. Kelley, Courtney Pilkerton, and Brandon R. Rudisill. “Medication use and the risk of motor vehicle collisions among licensed drivers: A systematic review.” Accident Analysis and Prevention, November 2016.

Schmitz, Allison. “Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review.” Mental Health Clinician, 6 May 2016.

“Temazepam.” MedlinePlus, 15 April 2019, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684003.html

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Updated on: August 4, 2020
Author
Addiction Group Staff
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