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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 medicine that is usually used to treat sleeping problems or insomnia. To get temazepam, you will need a prescription written for you by a doctor.

What is temazepam used for?

Temazepam is used for a short period, preferably 2 weeks or less, to help with sleeping problems. But temazepam doesn't address the reasons for sleeping problems.

Your doctor might also prescribe temazepam for another reason.

If you are unsure about why you are taking 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.

What forms of temazepam are available?

Temazepam is the name of the active ingredient. It is available as tablets in many different brands, which have different:

  • names
  • appearances (size, shape or colour)
  • packaging

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

What are the possible side effects of temazepam?

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

Common side effects include:

Even though you take temazepam at night, you might still feel drowsy next day.

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 in 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 of side effects of temazepam, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also read the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) leaflet about temazepam.

In general, temazepam should be used only for short periods, up to 2 weeks, unless advised by your doctor. If used over a long period, you can become dependent on temazepam.

Check with your doctor for how long you can 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 CMI for full details about when to speak with your doctor before or after you have started taking temazepam.

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 sleeping problems. For most people, it is better to develop healthy sleep habits, and stick to them, than to use medicine long term.

More information

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: December 2020

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