Dalmane® is the trademarked name of flurazepam, an oral prescription medication used in the treatment of insomnia. A benzodiazephine derivative that is chemically similar to diazepam, or Valium, Dalmane® is a strong sedative and muscle relaxant. Patients taking the medication can become dependent, leading to withdrawal symptoms. Certain individuals cannot use the medications due to possible drug interactions or pregnancy. Elderly individuals should consult a physician about possible risks before beginning treatment.
Dalmane® works by affecting the body and mind. The medication relaxes skeletal muscles and changes brain chemistry in a way similar to that achieved by anti-anxiety medication. The medication has also shown promise in treating those who have trouble maintaining sleep. Patients generally feel sedative effects within 30 minutes to an hour after taking the medication. Sleep is easily achieved by the vast majority of patients.
As Dalmane® affects brain chemistry, dependence and withdrawal symptoms are possible. Withdrawal manifests as a worsening of insomnia after the end of treatment. The risk of withdrawal has prompted many physicians to prescribe only the lowest possible dose to patients for a period of seven days. This treatment regimen poses the least risk. At the same time, patients are informed about ways to alleviate their insomnia without the use of psychoactive drugs.
Besides dependency, other side effects are common. As Dalmane® remains active within the human body for up to 10 days after treatment, sustained grogginess may result from taking a single dose. In certain individuals, this grogginess may affect the ability to operate an automobile or other machinery. A physician may advise that a patient start mediation on the evening before a weekend or other break in work. Due to safety concerns, following the instructions of a physician is crucial when taking this medication.
Certain individuals cannot use Dalmane® to treat insomnia. Due to the risks posed to unborn children, physicians do not prescribe the medication to pregnant women. Individuals with alcohol dependence also cannot take Dalmane®, as the combination with alcohol can be fatal. Finally, the medication poses a significant risk to individuals with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.
Elderly individuals should consult with their physicians before starting treatment. The grogginess commonly caused by Dalmane® can become harmful as elderly individuals routinely report an additional loss of balance. These side effects have been responsible for falling incidents that resulted in broken bones. Discussing these risks along with other treatment options will result in a more successful and safe insomnia treatment.