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Nitrazepam

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  • Sometimes known as 'Mogadon'
  • Treats severe insomnia
  • Only for short term use
  • Taken before bed
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Nitrazepam is a medication that is occasionally prescribed to help people who are having severe difficulties getting to sleep. This disturbed sleep pattern should be causing unacceptable distress or daytime sleepiness that is disabling for nitrazepam to be considered as a treatment option.

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  • UK Medication

    Prescriptions issued by European Doctors

Read up

    • Nitrazepam is a type of benzodiazepine medication
    • Nitrazepam is used to treat severe insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)
    • The underlying cause of the insomnia should be investigated prior to prescribing nitrazepam
    • Nitrazepam should only be prescribed for short term use, as long term use can lead to dependence or addiction
    • Nitrazepam is sometimes known by its trade name Mogadon
    • Nitrazepam can lead to sleepiness or a slower reaction time the following day – it is important not to drive or operate heavy machinery if this is the case
    • It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.

    Nitrazepam changes the way that neurotransmitters in the brain pass on messages. The change in these brain chemicals has a calming effect which can help you get to sleep more easily.

    Nitrazepam is often used for one to three weeks to help with insomnia. If it used for longer than this, there is a risk of it becoming less effective. The risk of becoming dependent on the medication also increases. Long term use of nitrazepam can lead to feelings of addiction.

    Other medications available here at EU Meds that work as a sleep aid and address anxiety is diazepam, otherwise known as Valium. You can also buy Valium (diazepam) here at EU Meds.

    Nitrazepam is taken at night before you go to bed. It is a tablet medication that should be swallowed with some water.

    The usual dose of nitrazepam is 5mg taken at night. Occasionally a higher or lower dose may be prescribed.

    Your doctor may advise you not to take nitrazepam every night. Some people might take it only on certain nights of the week, and others may be given a very short prescription that lasts for less than a week. 

    Some people still feel sleepy the following morning after taking nitrazepam. If this is the case, you may need to speak to your doctor about reducing the dose.

    When your course of nitrazepam ends, your doctor may advise that you slowly taper your dose down. This may help to avoid symptoms of withdrawal.

    You should take nitrazepam exactly as your doctor prescribes it for you.

    Like all medications, nitrazepam can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:

    • Daytime sleepiness
    • Feeling light-headed
    • Feeling unsteady
    • Weakness
    • Becoming forgetful
    • Feeling confused
    • Aggressive behaviour.

    If these symptoms do not settle or are troublesome, speak to your GP. 

    If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.

    Nitrazepam may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your doctor if you:

    • Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding
    • Have breathing problems or sleep apnoea
    • Have liver or kidney disease
    • Have a mental health diagnosis including depression, a personality disorder or psychosis
    • Have myasthenia gravis
    • Have porphyria
    • Have, or have ever had, drug or alcohol addiction.

    It is advisable to abstain from drinking alcohol whilst taking nitrazepam. As nitrazepam can lead to sleepiness and feeling unsteady, drinking alcohol may compound this side effect.

    Some medications can interact with nitrazepam. You may be advised that nitrazepam will not suit you if you already take:

    • Another benzodiazepine medication
    • Opioid medications
    • Anti-epileptics
    • Antidepressants
    • Sedative antihistamines
    • Hypnotic medications
    • Neuroleptic medications
    • Certain antibiotics.

    You should also tell your prescriber about any herbal remedies or supplements you take. This will allow your prescriber to check that nitrazepam will not interact with them.

    It is important that your doctor checks that nitrazepam will suit you. Your doctor should complete a thorough health questionnaire and review your current medications before prescribing this medication.

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