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6-minute read

Key facts

  • Temazepam is a sedative in a medicine class called benzodiazepines.
  • It is commonly used for short periods to help with sleep problems.
  • Temazepam makes you drowsy, so don't drive or operate heavy machinery when taking this medicine.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs when taking temazepam, as it can make their effects stronger.
  • Ask your doctor about stopping temazepam — you may need to gradually reduce the dose to minimise the risk of side effects.

Looking for a medicine?

Visit healthdirect’s list of medicines that contain temazepam to find out more about a specific medicine.

What is temazepam?

Temazepam is a is a sedative in a medicine class called benzodiazepines.

What is temazepam used for?

Temazepam should only be used for a short period of time, preferably 2 weeks or less, to help with sleep problems. Remember that temazepam doesn't address the cause of your sleeping problems, and is not a cure.

Your doctor might also prescribe temazepam for another reason.

If you are unsure why you have been prescribed temazepam, ask your doctor.

How does temazepam work?

Temazepam belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. It works on chemicals in the brain to slow the brain's activity, and in this way, can help you sleep.

What forms of temazepam are available?

Temazepam is the name of the active ingredient and is available in different:

  • brands
  • appearances (size, shape or colour)
  • packaging
  • doses or strengths

No matter which brand you are prescribed, temazepam works in the same way to treat sleep problems.

In Australia, you need a doctor's prescription to buy temazepam.

What are the possible side effects of temazepam?

All medicines have benefits but also carry the risk of side effects. Temazepam helps most people who take them for sleeping problems, but some people also experience side effects.

The most common side effects include:

  • drowsiness
  • muscle weakness
  • unsteadiness

It can also make you forgetful and dizzy.

Even if you take temazepam at night, you might still feel drowsy the next day. If you still feel the effects in the morning after taking temazepam, you should avoid driving.

There are other rare side effects. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these, since you might need immediate medical treatment:

  • hallucinations (hearing, seeing or smelling things that aren't there)
  • difficulties breathing
  • skin rash, itching or hives
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, or difficulty swallowing

This is not a full list of side effects. For more information about the risks or side effects of temazepam, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also read the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) leaflet about temazepam.

What should I be careful of when taking temazepam?

Temazepam can make you drowsy and slow your reaction times. Because of this, it's important that you don't drive or operate heavy machinery when you take this medicine.

You should also avoid drinking alcohol and/or taking recreational drugs when taking temazepam, as it can make you more sensitive to the effects of these substances.

In general, temazepam should only be used only for short periods of time, up to 2 weeks, unless advised by your doctor. If used over a long period, you can become dependent on temazepam. Do not take more temazepam than your doctor has prescribed. Do not share your medicines with anyone else.

Check with your doctor for how long you should take temazepam. If you are thinking of stopping or lowering your dose, speak with your doctor. Suddenly stopping the medicine can cause side effects.

When should I speak to my doctor?

Speak to your doctor if you:

  • experience side effects that trouble you
  • have signs of an allergic reaction
  • have a health condition or are taking medication that may affect how your body reacts to temazepam
  • become pregnant or start breastfeeding

See the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) leaflet found in your packet of temazepam for full details about when to speak with your doctor before or after you have started taking temazepam.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

Are there alternatives to temazepam?

Temazepam and other sleeping pills can be useful in helping you fall asleep, but they do not address the cause of your sleeping problems. For most people, it is better to develop healthy sleep habits, and stick to them, than to use medicine long-term.

Resources and support

Asking about your treatment or medication is important to help you understand your options. Read our guide to important questions to ask your pharmacist or doctor before taking a medicine.

You can also visit healthdirect's list of medicines that contain temazepam to read the CMI for the brand of temazepam prescribed.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2023

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