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Benzodiazepines (By mouth)

Treats insomnia (difficulty falling sleep), anxiety, nervousness, muscle spasms, and epilepsy.

Brand Name(s):

Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Klonopin Wafers, Ativan, Niravam, Restoril, Xanax XR, Halcion, Serax, Dalmane, Librium, Lorazepam Intensol, Tranxene T-Tab, Clorazepate Dipotassium

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine medicine, such as Valium®, Librium®, and Halcion®. Do not use if you have narrow-angle glaucoma.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet, Dissolving Tablet, Long Acting Capsule, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Do not break, crush, or chew the extended-release capsule or extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole with a full glass of water.
  • Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, medicine dropper, or medicine cup. The medicine may be mixed with one-half glass of water, soft drink, or applesauce.
  • If you are using the disintegrating tablet, make sure your hands are dry before you handle the tablet. Do not open the blister pack that contains the tablet until you are ready to take it. Remove the tablet from the blister pack by peeling back the foil, then taking the tablet out. Do not push the tablet through the foil. Place the tablet in your mouth. It should melt quickly. After the tablet has melted, swallow or take a drink of water.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or lung disease.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Severe weakness, trouble standing
  • Agitation, feelings of rage, hallucinations
  • Uncontrolled body movements
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Unexplained fever, sore throat

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or tired feeling
  • Trouble concentrating, memory loss
  • Dry mouth, upset stomach, constipation
  • Vision changes such as trouble focusing
  • Feeling "hungover" the morning after bedtime use

Last Updated: 6/12/2013
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