Restoril (Temazepam) - Oral

Warning:

Avoid using benzodiazepines (such as Restoril) and opioids together. Combining these medications can cause profound sedation, breathing problems, coma, and death. Healthcare providers may avoid prescribing these two types of drugs at the same time unless other treatment options are inadequate.

Benzodiazepine use may also increase the risk of substance abuse and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. It can also lead to physical dependence with continued use and the potential risk for withdrawal symptoms. Abruptly stopping or reducing your Restoril dose after prolonged use can cause withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening in some cases. Talk to your healthcare provider about safely reducing your dose.

What Is Restoril?

Restoril (temazepam) is a pill used to treat short-term (acute) insomnia. It is a prescription medication in the benzodiazepine class of drugs.  

Benzodiazepines like Restoril are very commonly prescribed drugs. They affect a certain receptor found in the brain, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. When Restoril binds to these receptors, it has a calming effect on the brain.

Restoril is categorized as a Schedule IV controlled substance. Taking Restoril can potentially lead to physical dependence, misuse, or abuse. 

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Temazepam

Brand Name(s): Restoril

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Hypnotic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: Schedule IV

Active Ingredient: Temazepam

Dosage Form(s): Capsule

What Is Restoril Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Restoril to treat insomnia. Specifically, it is meant to only be used short-term (for seven to 10 days).

Restoril (Temazepam) Drug Information - A person lying down with their brain showing

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Restoril

Take Restoril exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. This will mean taking it when you are ready to go to bed in most cases. It is not necessary to take it with food. Do not take Restoril unless you know you can allow the next seven to eight hours for sleep. 

Do not crush the drug and snort it up your nose. This is not a safe way to use the drug.

If you take Restoril for an extended period, you may be more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking it. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to safely stop taking this medication. 

Storage

Store at room temperature, away from heat and light. As with all medications, keep safe away from children. 

When traveling, only take a little more than you think you’ll need during your trip. If flying, take your pills on your carry-on baggage in the original bottles. 

If going abroad, check with the embassy of the country you are visiting to see if there are any special requirements for traveling. It may also be helpful to carry your prescription with you and a letter from your physician.

Off-Label Uses

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes that Restoril is an option for people who have chronic insomnia. It can be effective for people who have trouble getting to sleep or wake up too early. However, Restoril is not FDA-approved for long periods of use.

Benzodiazepines such as Restoril are sometimes used to treat other conditions as well. For example, they can help prevent seizures and muscle spasms.

Because benzodiazepines have a calming effect on the brain, healthcare providers have also sometimes prescribed them for psychiatric problems. For example, these include:

  • General anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Other psychiatric disorders, like schizophrenia

How Long Does Restoril Take to Work?

Restoril begins to work quite quickly. You might notice starting to feel sleepy in around 30 minutes.

What Are the Side Effects of Restoril?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Restoril can sometimes cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Some of the most common side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea

You also might feel fatigued, tired, or sleepy the next day after using it.

Severe Side Effects

Risk of Dependence, Addiction, and Abuse

Like other benzodiazepine drugs, Restoril can lead to physical dependency if you take it for more than a short period. You’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug. 

Usually, these symptoms are mild, such as insomnia, restlessness, or poor mood. However, you are more likely to get severe symptoms if you suddenly stop taking a large dose you’ve been taking for a while. Then, you might get symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Intense sweating
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

A certain amount of physical dependency happens in most people who take the drug for an extended period. But for some people, this issue becomes much more severe, leading to actual psychological dependence and addiction to benzodiazepine drugs. In some cases, people are using other addictive drugs as well. This dramatically increases the chance of drug overdose and death. 

However, this risk is relatively low. You may need to be more cautious if you have a previous history of addiction or addiction in your family.

Risk of Slowed Breathing, Coma, and Death

Like other benzodiazepine drugs, Restoril may cause your breathing to slow or even stop (this is sometimes called respiratory depression). This can cause a coma or even death.

This risk is much higher if you take a larger than normal dose of the drug or take certain other medicines along with Restoril. For example, combining Restoril with opioid drugs, like OxyContin (oxycodone) or alcohol is dangerous.

Call 911 if someone taking Restoril is breathing more slowly than usual or if they seem to be unresponsive.

Risk of Mood/Behavior Changes and “Sleep Driving”

Occasionally, Restoril can have an unexpected effect on mood or behavior. For example, a person might act aggressive.

Rarely, people who use Restoril may perform complex tasks while not fully awake. Afterward, they usually don’t remember the event. This can be dangerous if the person participates in potentially unsafe activities, such as driving a vehicle, while in this state. This is most likely to happen if a person has used Restoril with another drug, like alcohol.

If something like this happens, contact your healthcare provider immediately. You will probably need to stop taking Restoril. 

Risk of Severe Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions are another rare but potentially serious side effect of this medication. This might cause swelling of the tongue or throat or difficulty breathing. Call 911 if a person experiences any of these symptoms after taking Restoril.

Report Side Effects

Restoril may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much of Restoril Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For insomnia (trouble sleeping):
      • Adults—The usual dose is 15 milligrams (mg) at bedtime. Some patients may need 7.5 mg or 30 mg. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Older adults—At first, 7.5 mg at bedtime. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Restoril should also be used cautiously in older adults (65 and older). These individuals may be more at risk from side effects from Restoril, especially if they are taking other medications. They might need a smaller dose of the drug.

Missed Dose

If you are taking Restoril for short-term treatment of insomnia, you probably won’t have any problems if you miss a dose. If you get to sleep without taking it, you can take it the next night, if needed.

If you take Restoril over the long term, you might notice some mild withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose, like nervousness. Take it as soon as you remember. However, do not double up if it is very close to your next scheduled dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Restoril?

People who take more Restoril than prescribed can overdose on the drug, potentially leading to death. This is more likely in people who take Restoril along with opioid drugs (like OxyContin) or with alcohol. 

Overdose symptoms might include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

What Happens If I Overdose on Restoril?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Restoril, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Restoril, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.

If your condition does not improve within 7 to 10 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

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.

This medicine may cause you to do things while you are still asleep that you may not remember the next morning. It is possible you could drive a car, sleepwalk, have sex, make phone calls, or prepare and eat food while you are asleep or not fully awake. Tell your doctor right away if you learn that any of these has happened.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop taking this medicine. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause some people, especially older persons, to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy or unsteady, or less alert than they are normally, which may lead to falls. Even though temazepam is taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Also, this medicine may cause double vision or other vision problems. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.

If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are using temazepam, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people using this medicine are like those seen in people who drink alcohol and then act in a manner that is not normal. Other changes may be more unusual and extreme, such as confusion, worsening of depression, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), suicidal thoughts, and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability.

Do not stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent a worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, stomach or muscle cramps, tremors, or unusual behavior.

Symptoms of an overdose include: blurred vision, change in consciousness, decreased or absent reflexes, difficult or trouble breathing, difficulty with coordination, dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing, loss of consciousness, mood or mental changes, pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, sleepiness or unusual drowsiness, slurred speech, sweating, or unusual tiredness or weakness. Call your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.

Temazepam may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, tongue, mouth, or throat while you are using this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Restoril?

Certain people should use caution in taking benzodiazepines like Restoril. Although it may make sense for you to take this medication, you’ll still want to weigh the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. For example, it might not be a good choice for people with any of the following:

  • Depression or other mental illness
  • Previous addition problems
  • Lung disease

You shouldn’t take Restoril if you are pregnant. The drug may increase the risk of birth defects in the fetus. Discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare providers if you are breastfeeding.

Do not take Restoril if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

What Other Medications Interact With Restoril?

Restoril can heighten the risks of using opioid drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) or Vicodin (hydrocodone). In 2019, of the people who overdosed from opioid drugs, 16% were also taking a benzodiazepine drug such as Restoril. Using alcohol with Restoril also greatly increases your risk of accidental overdose. 

Restoril can also interfere with how some drugs are broken down in your body. In some cases, it might make these drugs less or more potent. Alternatively, some medications can do the same for Restoril, affecting how well Restoril works for you and your risk for side effects.

Even if Restoril interacts with another drug, you may still be able to use it. However, you'll need to discuss this with your healthcare provider. Some examples of these drug interactions include:

Talk to your healthcare provider about all your medications, including over-the-counter products and any herbal preparations. 

What Medications Are Similar?

Several other medications can help treat insomnia. Some other alternatives are:

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these are all potentially effective options for managing insomnia. However, you should only take one of these treatments. These should be used at the same time.

Like Restoril, Halcion is a benzodiazepine drug. It is similarly effective and has very similar risks in terms of side effects. Zolpidem, Lunesta, and Sonata are newer therapies for sleep that do not belong to the benzodiazepine class. These drugs also affect GABA receptors in the brain, but they do so slightly differently. Because of this, they may be somewhat safer than benzodiazepine drugs like Restoril. However, they still carry some risks and may be more expensive than the older drugs.

Healthcare providers prescribe other drugs for insomnia as well, sometimes off-label.Cognitive behavioral therapies for insomnia can also be very effective. These might be worth trying before you consider pharmacologic treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about all your treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Restoril used for?

    Restoril is usually used to treat insomnia. It’s only FDA-approved for short-term use, but sometimes healthcare providers prescribe it for longer periods.

  • Will Restoril make me sleepy the next day?

    It might or it might not. The strongest effects will be right after taking the drug and for the next several hours. Response to the drug will vary from person to person.

  • Is Restoril addictive?

    It’s only recommended that you take Restoril for a limited time, usually seven to 10 days. You shouldn’t develop dependency during that time.

    Some people do develop an unhealthy relationship with Restoril, using it unsafely. This risk is highest in people with other kinds of addiction.

  • Can I drink if I’m taking Restoril?

    It’s best not to drink alcohol with Restoril. When people overdose from Restoril, it’s often because they have combined it with other drugs, like alcohol. Combining both can slow your breathing rate and even lead to death. It’s also very unsafe to combine Restoril with opiate drugs like OxyContin.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Restoril?

If you are dealing with insomnia, taking Restoril might help you get needed sleep. However, you’ll probably only want to take it short-term. Your healthcare provider can give you other non-pharmacologic suggestions to improve your sleep.

Make sure to take Restoril exactly as prescribed. Talk to your healthcare provider about all your other medications and over-the-counter products. Avoid alcohol and any opioid drugs while you are taking the medication. If you do so, your risks should be minimal.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ruth Jessen Hickman, MD
Ruth Jessen Hickman, MD, is a freelance medical and health writer and published book author.