Estazolam is primarily prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia. The drug helps patients to both fall and remain asleep, and can also help patients to sleep longer. The drug works by attempting to correct the imbalance of chemicals in the brain that cause insomnia. It is a member of the sedative-hypnotic class of drugs.
The drug is intended to be a short-term sleep aid, and is usually used with other therapies in order to encourage better sleep over the long term. It contains a benzodiazepine derivative, which is a psychoactive drug. These kinds of drugs have a chemical that mostly targets the central nervous system. For this reason, estazolam can be effective as a short-term aid in calming anxiety in addition to insomnia.
Estazolam is an oral medication that comes in tablet form. Most patients are advised to take the drug at bedtime when needed. The drug is usually only prescribed for a few months as it can be habit-forming. It is also possible to build up a tolerance to estazolam, which makes the drug less effective. For this reason, patients are usually strongly cautioned to take only the prescribed dosage in order to avoid overdose and addiction.
It is possible to fall asleep extremely quickly after taking estazolam. Doctors recommend avoiding not only driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery, but also engaging in any other activity besides resting after taking the drug. Some patients will not remember what they do or what events occur after they have taken the drug. They may engage in activities such as eating, conversation, and bathing and have no memory of it afterwards. If this happens, a doctor should be informed immediately, as the patient may need to be taken off the drug for safety reasons.
It is common for patients to have side effects from taking estazolam. Less serious effects include headache, drowsiness, grogginess, and weakness. Patients may also get diarrhea, heartburn, dry mouth, and light-headedness and dizziness as a result of taking the drug. These effects should be reported to a doctor if they persist or become more severe.
There are several possible severe side effects of taking estazolam which should be reported to a doctor immediately. These include breathing difficulties and spasms in the back, jaw, and neck muscles. Patients may also experience fever, tremor, serious skin rash, and irregular heartbeat. Other serious effects include yellowing in the eyes or skin and difficult or slow speech.