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What Is Flurazepam?

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  • Written By: Marty Paule
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 11 February 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Flurazepam is a prescription drug usually prescribed for the treatment of chronic insomnia. Because its action is slow, patients sometimes do not perceive a benefit until the second or third night after beginning the prescription. Some patients report continued help with sleep for additional nights after ceasing to take flurazepam. Caution must be exercised in taking the drug since it is long-acting, can be habit-forming, and can cause withdrawal symptoms. Common side effects include next-day drowsiness, while long-term dependence and tolerance can also be significant issues in the use of flurazepam.

Doctors usually prescribe flurazepam for patients who complain of mild to moderate levels of insomnia. Because of its long-term activity, it is often taken by patients who have trouble staying asleep. Effects of flurazepam usually begin 30 to 60 minutes after taking a dose. The drug metabolizes very slowly with a half-life of up to 250 hours, making it unsuitable for patients who will operate equipment or vehicles within a short period of time.

Most patients report improvement with their sleep patterns within a week to ten days after beginning flurazepam. Patients are counseled to report changes in their behavior or emotions to their doctor. Because of its habit-forming potential, physicians usually prescribe the lowest possible dose. In some cases of chronic insomnia, the doctor may prescribe taking flurazepam on a regular basis. When taking patients off of flurazepam, doses are usually reduced gradually to minimize the effects of withdrawal.

Drowsiness and dizziness are the most common side effects caused by flurazepam. Other side effects include lack of coordination, headache, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and joint pain. Serious side effects that should be reported immediately to healthcare providers include rashes and hives, chest pains, and difficulty swallowing or breathing. A pounding heartbeat and swellings of the face, eyes, throat, or lips may also indicate a serious drug reaction.

Before prescribing flurazepam, the physician will determine what other medications the patient is taking and rule out potential harmful drug interactions and allergy risks. Some of the contraindications for prescribing flurazepam include the use of certain medications taken for depression, seizures, and mental disorders, as well as alcohol or illicit drugs. The doctor will also advise the patient to avoid operating machinery or driving until he or she has a better sense of how the medication will affect performance. Patients over 65 are not considered good flurazepam candidates and other medications should be prescribed instead.

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