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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
Because sleep disturbances may be presenting manifestations of a physical and/or psychiatric disorder, symptomatic treatment of insomnia should be initiated only after a careful evaluation of the patient. The failure of insomnia to remit after 7 to 10 days of treatment may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. Worsening of insomnia or the emergence of new thinking or behavior abnormalities may be the consequence of an unrecognized psychiatric or physical disorder. Such findings have emerged during the course of treatment with sedative-hypnotic drugs. Because some of the important adverse effects of sedative-hypnotics appear to be dose related (see PRECAUTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION), it is important to use the smallest possible effective dose, especially in the elderly.
Complex behaviors such as “sleep driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-naïve as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons. Although behaviors such as sleep-driving may occur with sedative-hypnotics alone at therapeutic doses, the use of alcohol and other CNS depressants with sedative-hypnotics appears to increase the risk of such behaviors, as does the use of sedative-hypnotics at doses exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Due to the risk to the patient and community, discontinuation of sedative-hypnotics should be strongly considered for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode.
Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedativehypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
Rare cases of angioedema involving the tongue, glottis or larynx have been reported in patients after taking the first or subsequent doses of sedative-hypnotics, including Estazolam. Some patients have had additional symptoms such as dyspnea, throat closing, or nausea and vomiting that suggest anaphylaxis. Some patients have required medical therapy in the emergency department. If angioedema involves the tongue, glottis or larynx, airway obstruction may occur and be fatal. Patients who develop angioedema after treatment with Estazolam should not be rechallenged with the drug.
Estazolam, like other benzodiazepines, has CNS depressant effects. For this reason, patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness, such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle, after ingesting the drug, including potential impairment of the performance of such activities that may occur the day following ingestion of estazolam. Patients should also be cautioned about possible combined effects with alcohol and other CNS depressant drugs.
As with all benzodiazepines, amnesia, paradoxical reactions (e.g., excitement, agitation, etc.), and other adverse behavioral effects may occur unpredictably.
There have been reports of withdrawal signs and symptoms of the type associated with withdrawal from CNS depressant drugs following the rapid decrease or the abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
Estazolam Interaction with Drugs that Inhibit Metabolism via Cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A): The metabolism of estazolam to the major circulating metabolite 4-hydroxy-estazolam and the metabolism of other triazolobenzodiazepines is catalyzed by CYP3A. Consequently, estazolam should be avoided in patients receiving ketoconazole and itraconazole, which are very potent inhibitors of CYP3A (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). With drugs inhibiting CYP3A to a lesser, but still significant degree, estazolam should be used only with caution and consideration of appropriate dosage reduction. The following are examples of drugs known to inhibit the metabolism of other related benzodiazepines, presumably through inhibition of CYP3A: nefazodone, fluvoxamine, cimetidine, diltiazem, isoniazide, and some macrolide antibiotics.
While no in vivo drug-drug interaction studies were conducted between estazolam and inducers of CYP3A, compounds that are potent CYP3A inducers (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin, and barbiturates) would be expected to decrease estazolam concentrations.
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FDA Safety Alerts
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There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.
FDA Labeling Changes
There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.
Estazolam tablets are indicated for the short-term management of insomnia characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, and/or early morning awakenings. Both out-patient studies and a sleep laboratory study have shown that estazolam administered at bedtime improved sleep induction and sleep maintenance (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
Because insomnia is often transient and intermittent, the prolonged administration of estazolam is generally neither necessary nor recommended. Since insomnia may be a symptom of several other disorders, the possibility that the complaint may be related to a condition for which there is a more specific treatment should be considered.
There is evidence to support the ability of estazolam to enhance the duration and quality of sleep for intervals up to 12 weeks (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
There is currently no drug history available for this drug.
Estazolam, a triazolobenzodiazepine derivative, is an oral hypnotic agent. Estazolam occurs as a fine, white, odorless powder that is soluble in alcohol and practically insoluble in water. The chemical name for estazolam is 8-chloro-6-phenyl-4H-s-triazolo[4,3-α][1,4]benzodiazepine. The molecular formula is C16H11CIN4 and its molecular weight is 294.75. The structural formula is represented as follows:
Each tablet, for oral administration, contains 1 mg or 2 mg estazolam. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: docusate sodium, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium benzoate, sodium starch glycolate and stearic acid. The 2 mg tablets also contain FD&C Red #40 aluminum lake.