What is Temazepam?

What is Temazepam?

This medication was approved for use medically in 1969 and is useful for those experiencing insomnia. It is a sleeping pill, which is generally taken by mouth to assist in getting a better night's sleep.

Globally, stats across the EU, USA and other regions, are firmly confirming the need for effective sleep medications. With nearly 70 million Americans experiencing some sort of sleep disorder, for example, the popularity of this medication is not surprising.

Approximately four million prescriptions were recorded in 2017 alone in the United States(U.S), making temazepam the 142nd most prescribed therapeutic. The demand is similarly very high in Europe and other countries which prescribe or utilise this medication.

Temazepam 20 mg can be categorised as a sedative and a hypnotic sleeping tablet. It gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 1981 and falls into the class of benzodiazepines, which are psychotropic substances as they affect the central nervous system (CNS). Benzodiazepines can be differentiated by their pharmaceutical profiles which can include:

  • How quick they bring about their therapeutic effects
  • The conditions for which they are commonly prescribed
  • How long their effects are known to last

Temazepam is classified as an intermediate-acting agent, because its effects can last for relatively long (11 to 20 hours). This crystalline substance is white in colour and as a sedative, its primary pharmacological action is to increase the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). An elevation of the level of this neurotransmitter potentiates the inhibitory effects it brings about, which thereby leads to sedation.

How Does Restoril Work?

As a benzodiazepine, this medication causes a depression of the CNS. This depression is brought about by increasing the brain chemical, GABA. This chemical is the dominant neurotransmitter in the CNS and its principal role is to decrease neuron excitability.

Temazepam tablets bind to the GABAA receptor located in the neocortical, limbic and mesencephalic reticular system. The frequency of chloride channel opening is increased through this binding and this allows for more chloride ions to flow into the neurons. Consequently, membrane hyperpolarization occurs and hence, there is a decrease in neuron excitability.

This medication is well absorbed and it is thought that between 90% to 100% of the active ingredient is absorbed by the bloodstream. The therapeutic can be observed in the blood levels within 30 minutes and this fast decreases brain activity. By slowing down brain activity, the brain and mind are allowed to relax, which induces uninterrupted sleep.

What is Temazepam Used For?

This medication is approved for the short-term treatment of insomnia. In a research study by Mitler (1981), the hypnotic properties of this medication were evaluated. The results obtained indicated that temazepam:

  • Was absorbed at a slower rate and metabolised at a faster rate than flurazepam
  • When administered to clinical trial patients for 35 nightly doses, showed no signs of rebound insomnia or tolerance
  • Does not have any long-acting metabolites
  • Does not affect waking functions
  • Is effective for most types of insomnia
  • Can increase the total amount of sleep time
  • Reduced the number of nightly awakenings experienced by the patients

Benzodiazepines are typically used as pre-medications before surgical or diagnostic procedures. Studies relating to the pharmokinetic and metabolic aspects of this sleep medicine suggested that the soft gelatin capsule preparation may be an effective pre-medication for those undergoing day surgeries. This is due to the relatively short half-life, lack of clinically significant amounts of metabolites and the elevation of the active ingredient in plasma levels.

Beechey et al. (1981) concluded that when used a pre-medication, the overall well being of patients undergoing day surgery was improved. This was contributed to by effective sedation, a reduction in anxiety symptoms, less post-operative sequelae and a generally effective method of anaesthetic induction.

How do I take Temazepam?

How do I take Temazepam?

The oral formulations of this sleep aid (tablets, capsules or liquids) are generally intended for use once a night only. They should be taken with a drink of water and at least half an hour prior to bed. When using this medication you should never:

  • Take the medicine in any manner other than directed. The tablets or capsules are designed to be ingested wholly. They are not to be chewed or crushed. If the liquid formulation is being administered, it is advised that proper medicine syringes be used as opposed to a kitchen spoon which can give inaccurate measurements. Liquid forms of this medicine come with a syringe or spoon for administration in the packaging.
  • Take the medication when you have only a few hours to dedicate to sleep. The intent of this sleep aid is to provide a good night's rest. This is only achievable with sufficient time to dedicate to this intention. If you have to be active before the effects of the medication have worn off, there can be residual symptoms of drowsiness which can have negative cognitive implications.
  • Use these sleeping tablets for more than there commended treatment period. The manufacturer indicates that this medicine is for use on a short-term basis. You should not take it for longer than four weeks. In most instances, this medication is advised for two to three nights per week.
  • Mix medications. Some pharmaceuticals can have harmful effects when taken concomitantly. When the therapeutics have similar profiles of action, the effects can be potentiated and lead to undesirable consequences. Certain foods can also have these effects. This information can be found on the packaging leaflets and a normal diet should be followed unless otherwise recommended.

Does Temazepam Help with Anxiety?

Anxiety is characterised by feelings of worry or fear and in some cases can be detrimental to one's health. The highest rate of anxiety is seen in people aged between 30 and 44 years and stress-related circumstances or an unfortunate event is often a cause of this mental health disorder.

Temazepam, even though it may be approved as a sleep aid, can also be helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety. Psychiatric disorders are often a result of excessive activity in the brain. Research shows that this medication reduces this activity, which assists in the management of anxiety.

The calmness, which is brought about through the interaction of this therapeutic with GABA, is thought to be the main reason these sleeping tablets have anti-anxiety properties. For sleep disturbances associated with anxiety disorders, this medication is therefore especially effective and highly recommended.

Updated: 22nd January 2021
Review Due: January 2022



Fueled with a passion to try and help people less fortunate than himself Steve immersed himself in the medical industry. By researching new and innovative medical advancements and regularly sharing important information on social media Steve intends to make a difference where it matters most, people's health. His wealth of knowledge and keen eye for detail will help keep our readers informed and contribute towards improved health.

Sophie Lyons – Feb 26, 2021
Dear Steve, I wanted to write and congratulate you on your excellent blog. Your knowledge and wealth of information has been a great benefit to me in my fight against Insomnia. Best wishes Sophie Lyons

Post Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Rate this article