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Restoril for Insomnia Treatment

Sleeping Pill Effective for Short-Term or Acute Insomnia


Updated April 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Restoril for Insomnia Treatment
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Restoril is a prescription medication sold under the generic name temazepam. It is used for the treatment of insomnia.

Uses of Restoril

Restoril is used to treat difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep, which is called insomnia. When the symptoms occur over the short-term -- as may happen in acute insomnia -- restoril may be an effective treatment option.

How Does Restoril Work?

Restoril works on chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. These chemicals travel between nerve cells to conduct signals. Restoril affects the neurotransmitter called GABA by affecting its benzodiazepine receptors. This leads to sleep promotion.

Who Should Not Use Restoril?

Restoril should not be used if you are pregnant. If you are taking antifungal medications (which commonly have names ending –azole), you may need to be cautious when using this drug.

What Are Common Side Effects?

As with any drug, the potential for side effects exists with the use of Restoril. You may not experience most or any side effects when using this drug, but some that can occur include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Euphoria (feeling of well-being or giddiness)
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Nightmares
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)

What Are Potential Serious Reactions?

As with the use of any drug, there is the risk of serious side effects with the use of restoril. These effects occur more rarely. With the use of restoril, potential serious reactions include:

Safety Precautions

As mentioned above, some people should not use Restoril or should use it with only caution. Though it should not be used in pregnancy, it is probably safe to use when breastfeeding. Restoril requires careful monitoring, including a thorough evaluation before you start using it. You should undergo a routine physical and psychiatric evaluation and get blood tests, including a complete blood count and liver function tests, before starting Restoril.

As Restoril is part of the class of medications called benzodiazepines, great care must be taken when the medication is stopped. Abrupt cessation should be avoided. Instead, the dose should be tapered down gradually according to the advice of your doctor. If you abruptly stop Restoril, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Unpleasant feelings (dysphoria)
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensory changes (paresthesias)
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching or cramps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating

If you experience any difficulties, you should be in close contact with your primary health provider.


“Restoril.” Epocrates Rx Pro. Version 3.4, 2010. Epocrates, Inc. San Mateo, California.

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