NZ Formulary

Nitrazepam

nye-traz-eh-pam

What does it do?

Nitrazepam is used to help you sleep. It is also sometimes used for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take nitrazepam as directed with a glass of water.

What if you forget a dose?

Should an occasional dose be missed it need not be taken later.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with nitrazepam including:

  • some antihistamines (may be in anti-allergy, anti-nausea and cough/cold medicines)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. valerian) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Slow or shallow breathing, hard to wake up

Trouble with speech or swallowing

Tell your doctor immediately

Mood changes, agitation, unusual behaviour or thinking, loss of coordination, confusion, memory loss, trouble concentrating

Muscle weakness

Tell your doctor

Drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness, headache, changes in vision

More saliva than usual, drooling, stomach upset

Less interest in sex, trouble peeing

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have liver problems, sleep apnoea or a head injury.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Nitrazepam can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • If you still feel sleepy the next day, do not drive or operate machinery.
  • Nitrazepam may be addictive with long-term use.
  • If you have been taking nitrazepam regularly for a long time, do not stop taking it suddenly without talking to your doctor.
  • Sleep problems commonly occur when nitrazepam is stopped. It may take several weeks for these to improve.
  • Caffeine-containing drinks (e.g. coffee, cola, tea) may reduce the effect of nitrazepam. Discuss with your doctor.