medication is used to treat sleep problems, such as the inability
to fall asleep or to remain asleep for a reasonable number of
hours. Sleeping problem occur in most of the individuals from time
to time .If, however, sleeping problem persists, this may be a
symptom of some other disorder, either medical and psychiatric.
person may have difficulty in falling asleep because of stress or
anxiety felt during the day, pain physical discomfort or changes
in daily routine (e.g. jet-lag, changes in work shifts, etc). Any
disease that causes pain (e.g. ulcers) or breathing difficulties
(e.g. asthma or cold ) can interfere with continuous sleep.
Stimulant drugs, including caffeine, may also contribute to
problems of falling asleep; other medications may change sleep
patterns when they are stopped (e.g. antidepressnts, antipsychotic).
Sleep will improve when these causes have been remedied or
remaining asleep may be due to age, as older people tend to sleep
less at night. Certain disorders , including depression, may also
/Sedatives are similar to antianxiety drugs, but tend to cause
more drowsiness and incordination; therefore sometimes antianxiety
drugs are given to treat sleep problems.
quickly will the drug start working?
/Sedatives can induce calm or sedation usually within an hour. As
some drugs act quickly, take the medication just prior to going to
bed and relax in bed until the drug takes effect.
long should you take this medication?
problems are usually self limiting; often when the cause of sleep
difficulties are eliminated ,
will improve. Therefore hypnotic/sedatives are usually prescribed
for a limited period of
. Many individuals take the medication only when needed
(during periods of insomnia) rather than on a daily basis.
It is suggested that once you have slept well for 2 or 3
consecutive nights, try to get to sleep without
taking the sedative/hypnotic. Tolerance or loss of effectiveness
can occur in some individuals if they are used continuously beyond
you have been taking the medication for a continuously prolonged
period of time the physician may try to reduce the dose of this
drug slowly to see if sleeping problems persist; if not, the
dosage may be further reduced and you may be advised to stop using
this medication. Do not increase the dose or stop the drug without
consulting your doctor.
patients need to use a sedative/hypnotic
drug for longer time periods, because of the type of problems they
may be experiencing. Others require it from time to time, i.e.
effects occur, to some degree, with all medication. They are
usually not serious and do not occur in all individuals. Most will
decrease or disappear with time. If a side effects continues,
speak to your doctor about appropriate treatment.
side effects that can occur with sedative/hypnotic drugs include;
hangover, drowsiness and lethargy-This problem may decrease
with time; inform your doctor. Use of other drugs that make
you drowsy will worsen the problem. Avoid driving a car or
operating machinery if drowsiness persists.
incoordination, weakness or dizziness- Inform your doctor; an
adjustment in your dosage may be needed.
memory lapses- Inform your doctor.
speech-An adjustment in your dosage may be needed.
or heartburn- If this happens take the medication with food.
taste- Can occur with certain drugs (e.g. zopiclone). Avoid
milk in the morning to lessen this effect.
common side effects that you should report to your physician
confusion, worsening of your memory, periods of blackouts or
excitement or any behavior changes
leading to falls
your doctor know if you miss period or suspect you may be
not increase your dose without consulting your doctor
with your doctor or pharmacist before taking other drugs,
including-over the counter medication such as cold remedies
drug may impair the mental and physical abilities required for
driving a car or operating machinery. Avoid these activities
if you feel drowsy or slowed down.
drug may increase the effects of alcohol, making you more
sleepy, dizzy and lightheaded
your medication about half an hour before bedtime; do not
smoke in bed afterwards.
not stop taking the drug suddenly, especially if you have been
on the medication for a number of months or have been taking
high doses. Hypnotics /Sedatives need to be withdrawn
gradually to prevent withdrawal reactions.
excessive consumption of caffeinated
beverages (i.e more than 4 cups of coffee, 6 cups of
tea or cola) as it may counteract
the beneficial effects of anxiolytic.
your medication in a clean ,dry area at room temperature. Keep
all medication out of reach of children.
non drug methods to make you sleep
caffeine contain-beverages or foods (e.g chocolate) after 6 pm
and avoid heavy meals several hours before bedtime. A warm
glass of milk is effective for some people.
and sleeping during the day will make restful sleep at night
difficult. Keep active during the day and exercise regularly.
in relaxing activities prior to bedtime such as reading ,
listening to music, or taking a warm bath. Strenuous exercise
(e.g. jogging) immediately before bedtime may make it
difficult to get to sleep.
a normal pattern of sleeping and waking.
the bed and bedroom only for sleep and sexual activity.
external stimuli which might disturb sleep. If necessary, use
dark shades over windows or wear ear plugs.
in bed make sure you are comfortable (i.e. not too hot or cold
) use a firm mattress.
you have problems getting to sleep, rather than toss and turn
in bed, have some warm milk , read a book, listen to music, or
try relaxation techniques until you again begin to feel tired.
worry about the amount of sleep you are getting
as the amount will vary from day to day. The more you
worry the more anxious you will get and this may make it
harder for you to fall asleep.
you have any questions regarding this medication, do not hesitate
to contact your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.