Nitrazepam falls under the family of benzodiazepine drugs. Popularly known as a potent hypnotic drug, it is known for its strong sedative and motor impairing properties. It also finds extensive usage for its anxiolytic, amnestic, anticonvulsant and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. Patented in 1961, it came into medical use in 1965 (1). The chemical is highly effective in the treatment of insomnia because of its characteristics.
This drug is most commonly used in the treatment of insomnia. Insomnia, of course, refers to the condition where a patient finds difficulty in falling asleep or suffers from frequent awakening, early rising or a combination of both. Nitrazepam works by affecting the way certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) transmit messages. This usually makes the patient fall asleep easily as well as enhances the duration and quality of the slumber (2).
It is also recommended for the management of myoclonic seizures (brief jerks of muscles or muscle groups, usually occurring as part of epileptic syndromes) as well as epileptic spasms in infants (West’s Syndrome).
It is generally prescribed to be consumed orally, usually before bedtime. One should not increase the dosage or use it for a more extended period than prescribed since the drug can have habit-forming tendencies (2 & 3).
Some of the common side effects that a patient may experience as a result of consuming this medicine include drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, headache, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, changes in vision, allergic reaction and depression, among others (4).
Precautions before consumption
- It is advisable to inform your medical practitioner of all the prescription and non-prescription medicines that you may be consuming before starting on any course of Nitrazepam.
- Since it is known to cause drowsiness, it is best to avoid driving or engaging in activities that require acute alertness of the mind.
- Patients with a history of kidney or liver ailments, as well as streaks of depression need to apprise their doctor before consuming this medicine (3).
- Elderly patients, being more sensitive to the effects of this drug, need to be more cautious.
- It is not recommended for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical team strives to provide relevant information through such articles. We strongly advise readers to not consume or administer any medication without prior consultation with their doctor.
- Nitrazepam. [online] En.wikipedia.org. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrazepam
- Nitrazepam | DrugBank Online. [online] Go.drugbank.com. Available at: https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB01595
- Nitrazepam. [online] Chemeurope.com. Available at: https://www.chemeurope.com/en/encyclopedia/Nitrazepam.html
- Nitrazepam. [online] Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/nitrazepam