04 Jun Dalmane Addiction
It is hard to overestimate the problem Americans have just in falling asleep. Over 40% tell their doctors they sometimes experience insomnia, and about 15% of all adults and 30% of elderly complain of chronic insomnia. While millions of Americans use over-the-counter products and herbal remedies to get to sleep, the number taking prescription medications for insomnia is also creeping up. Between 2006 and 2011, prescriptions for sleeping pills went from 47 million to 60 million, at a cost of more than $4 billion a year.
Many sleeping pills like Dalmane are only supposed to be used for 14 days, even though people remain on them for decades. They are probably not effective if you take them more than two weeks, and the most recent studies show that they are only mildly effective to begin with. In some studies, these drugs decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep by an average of only 15 minutes, and increase the amount of sleep people get by less than a half-hour.
Sleeping pills like Dalmane have troublesome side effects like memory loss, and they are addictive. What is even more problematical is that the most recent studies are showing that sleeping pills mask physical problems that need medical treatment. Studies of more than 45,000 people indicate that those who take sleeping pills are five times more likely to die within a year or two. In other words, insomnia is not the problem — it is probably a symptom that something more serious is wrong.
What Is Dalmane?
Dalmane is the trademarked name of a sleeping pill manufactured by Meda Pharmaceuticals. The generic name of the active ingredient in Dalmane is flurazepam hydrochloride, which is a benzodiazepine similar to Valium and Xanax.
Discovered in the 1960s, benzodiazepines are prescribed for insomnia and anxiety. They are central nervous system depressants that slow down breathing, heartbeat, and other bodily functions, producing a sense of sedation, muscle relaxation, reduced anxiety, and relaxation. These drugs are drawn into certain brain cells of the cortex and limbic regions in the brain, binding to these “docking sites” called receptor cells. Dalmane causes the release of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, a natural chemical that “calms” nerve cells and causes sleepiness.
The chemical name of flurazepam hydrochloride is 7-chloro-1-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl]-5-(o- fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one dihydrochloride, and it comes as a pale yellow, crystalline compound, soluble in alcohol and very soluble in water.
Flurazepam is classified as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, which means it has potential for addiction but also some medical uses. It is highly regulated and legally available by prescription only.
What Are the Medical Uses of Dalmane?
Dalmane is a sleeping pill that is supposed to make you fall asleep faster and lessen the number of times you wake up during the night. The FDA has approved it to be used only for seven to 14 days. It is not supposed to be prescribed for longer than that because it is addictive, and because it probably stops working after a week or so. According to the manual doctors use, if Dalmane does not help a patient fall asleep within seven to ten days, he or she probably has a primary psychiatric disorder or physical illness that may need medical intervention.
Dalmane comes in 15 or 30mg capsules to be taken at bedtime without food. It should be taken only when you can spend at least eight hours in bed because of the increased danger of sleepwalking.
What Are the Side Effects of Dalmane?
The most notorious side effect of Dalmane and similar sleeping pills is that they can cause people to perform various activities while they are asleep that they do not recall later. People have had sex, gotten into automobile accidents, cooked meals for themselves, talked for hours on the phone, walked outdoors naked, purchased items at stores, and taken baths but yet they did remember any of these activities. Defendants in criminal cases have even presented a “sleeping pill” defense, telling judges and juries that they have no memory of committing any crimes because the drugs had affected their memories.
Dalmane can make jet lag worse. It can also cause “Travelers ‘Amnesia,” in that some people who took it later awakened on airplanes and not realized where they were.
Dalmane is supposed to be taken at bedtime when you will remain in bed for at least eight hours. Most people who take Dalmane in that way will not experience many side effects because they sleep through them. The most common side effects are clumsiness, unsteadiness, dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, upset stomach, and weakness. Some people say Dalmane makes them feel as if they are going to pass out. Other common side effects are fast heartbeat, fevers, chills, flulike symptoms, problems with urination and vision, nausea, itching, changes in appetite, jaundice, and clay-colored stools. More serious side effects can be mental/mood/behavior changes, depression, abnormal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, confusion, agitation, aggression, and anxiety. Dalmane can have a paradoxical effect on some people in that instead of causing sleepiness, it can cause nervousness, jitteriness and anxiety.
A study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that the dosage of Dalmane may affect whether elderly people have side effects. At 15mg, only 1.3% experienced side effects, but 12% of elderly patients experienced them a 30mg.
What Drugs Interact with Dalmane?
Dalmane should never be mixed with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, because such combinations can decrease your breathing and heart rate to the point of death.
Central nervous system depressants are most often drugs that cause drowsiness such as cold and allergy medications, sedatives, narcotics, opiate pain killers, muscle relaxers, medications for depression and anxiety, and certain antidepressants. Some specific drugs that should not be combined with Dalmane are Tagamet, Clozaril, FazaClo, Inapsine, Luvox, Sporanox, Nizoral, Aprepritant, disulfiram, HIV protease inhibitors, and GHB.
What People Should Not Take Dalmane?
Since Dalmane can decrease the rate of breathing, people with breathing disorders such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders should not take this drug. People with glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, kidney or liver diseases, depression, and histories of alcoholism, drug abuse or suicide attempts should not take Dalmane.
If you take Dalmane when you are pregnant, your baby is at risk for certain birth defects, and may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. Dalmane has not been approved for patients under 15 years old, and is prescribed with caution among the elderly population because of the danger of over-sedation.
What is Dalmane Overdose?
In the mid-1970s , United States Congressman Wayne Hays made headlines when he overdosed on Dalmane. The Ohio Democrat took ten times the recommended amount and landed up in a coma that lasted for days. He survived what his doctor later called a suicide attempt.
Dalmane overdoses occur when you take too much of the drug or mixed with alcohol, sleeping pills, narcotics or other central nervous system depressants. Symptoms of a Dalmane overdose are confusion, drowsiness, and weak or shallow breathing. The person can pass out and become impossible to wake up. Dalmane overdoses are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
Does Dalmane Show up in Routine Urine Tests?
Dalmane is a benzodiazepine and does show up in routine urine tests given at work or school. It can create false positives for other drugs in its class, including Xanax or Valium. Dalmane has a half-life of 40 to 250 hours. A common rule of thumb is that you will test positive for five times the half-life of any drug, which would translate to two to five days for Dalmane. However, if you are a heavy abuser of Dalmane, you are more likely to test positive than if you had just taken it as a medically prescribed sleeping pill.
What Are the Dangers of Dalmane?
One common danger of Dalmane is that it is addictive. If you take it in amounts not medically recommended or for long periods of time, you can develop a physical dependency on this drug. When you try to quit, you will develop cravings for the drug and an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome. The more Dalmane you use, the more you will have to use to achieve the effects that you want. Abuse of any benzodiazepine can cause the drug to accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body, and you may develop problems in coordination, memory, and judgment, and appear disoriented and confused.
A 2012 study of more than 33,000 people published in the British Medical Journal found that people who took sleeping pills were five times more likely to die within a year than those who did not take such drugs. Similar studies done within the past few years of over 15,000 people performed in Sweden and Norway produced similar results. These studies do not mean that sleeping pills cause people to die, but rather that people who take sleeping pills are less healthy than those who do not and may have serious, untreated physical conditions. Therefore, one danger of taking Dalmane is that it might be hiding a serious physical problem that should be treated by a physician.
Dalmane and other similar benzodiazepines may alter the number of cell receptors in the brain.
Some people are highly allergic to benzodiazepines, and they will have a life-threatening reaction the first time they take them. They may have hives, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, tongue and throat, shakiness, problems breathing, and other symptoms of anaphylactic shock. In severe cases, the person will enter a coma and die.
Dalmane and other sleeping pills can cause some people to perform various activities such as cooking, driving, talking on the phone and so forth, while they are asleep. When they wake up, they have no memory of them.
What Is Dalmane Addiction?
Dalmane is one of the “unspecified benzodiazepines” that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency ranks among the most frequently abused drugs in this country. “Benzos” are abused for their sedative effects and to modulate the effects of other drug addictions. For example, people who are addicted to stimulants like methamphetamine or prescription painkillers like OxyContin might take Dalmane for insomnia, which can be a side effect of both addictions. As people use Dalmane beyond the recommended two-week period, they built up a tolerance to its effect and need to take more to get to sleep.
Heroin addicts use Dalmane or other benzodiazepines to “smooth the ride” from their drug.
Because Dalmane is easily soluble in water, it is easy to use as an injectable drug. The pills are sometimes crushed into a powder and sorted through the nose. When Dalmane is abused in these ways or taken in amounts not recommended by physicians, it can cause the euphoria and intense “high” that drug addicts seek.
Dalmane is readily available through illegal Internet pharmacies without a prescription, and it is also sold on the street. Slang names for Dalmane and other similar drugs are tranks, candy, downers, and z drugs.
What Is Dalmane Withdrawal?
Dalmane withdrawal syndrome is a series of unpleasant symptoms that occur when a person tries to stop using the drug. Those symptoms can be so difficult to manage that people who are heavily addicted to Dalmane need to be hospitalized. The supervising physician will usually taper off the amount of Dalmane a person is taking in a gradual way in order to lessen or avoid the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is more difficult than withdrawal from heroin or methamphetamine, but again, your symptoms will depend on individual factors such as how long you’ve been abusing Dalmane and in what amounts, as well as your age, weight and general health. Some people have become so addicted to sleeping pills that they use them in the day simply to relax.
Withdrawal symptoms might be severe restlessness, high blood pressure, flu symptoms like sweating, chills and muscle aches, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, muscle cramps, tremors, and insomnia. The most difficult to manage symptoms are seizures, convulsions, and mental ones such as hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, and panic attacks.
Most people who are just using Dalmane as medically directed nevertheless experience “rebound insomnia” in that they will be unable to fall asleep for several days.
What Treatments Are Available for Dalmane Addiction?
If you believe that your use of Dalmane and other drugs is out of control, you should consult your family physician about entering a drug treatment program. Your first step will be to withdraw from drugs under medical supervision so that you can avoid serious symptoms like hallucinations and seizures. Once your body is clear of drugs, your next step is to learn how to avoid going back into drug addiction a second time. This usually requires several months of intense work on your part, either within a residential treatment program or a program that meets full time during the day at a clinic or drug rehabilitation center. Your program usually involves intensive individual therapy with a professional counselor, who can diagnose and help you with any underlying psychiatric problems that need to be addressed, such as depression, childhood trauma, posttraumatic stress syndrome, bipolar disorder, and so forth. Your one-on-one therapeutic sessions can help you understand why you became addicted to drugs and what lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent relapses into addiction.
While you are in treatment, you take part in group therapy sessions in which you help others as they help you face the challenges of addiction together. You may also enter into family and/or couples therapy so that your loved ones can become active participants in your program. Most drug rehabilitation programs offer the chance to become physically fit through better nutrition and sports, professional training, and so forth. Most centers offer therapies that include art, music and drama so that you can better get in touch with your emotions. You will also learn about the chemistry of drug addiction and how to avoid relapses. Once you return to your home and normal activities, you usually remain in psychotherapy and continue attending support groups in your local community.
How Can I Tell If I Am Addicted to Dalmane?
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time for you to consult a medical professional about your problems with sleeping pills.
- Have you been using Dalmane for more than two weeks?
- Do you find it impossible to fall asleep unless you “take something?”
- Do you use Dalmane in amounts not medically recommended?
- Are you buying Dalmane from illegal sources?
- Have you ever snorted or injected Dalmane?
- Are you using Dalmane to smooth out the effects of illegal drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamine?
- Do you find it impossible to go more than a day or two without taking drugs that are not been prescribed by a doctor?
- Have you tried unsuccessfully in the past to quit Dalmane?
- Do you develop withdrawal symptoms when you quit taking Dalmane?
- Are you taking other benzodiazepines without a prescription?
- Does your use of Dalmane and other drugs interfere with your performance at work or school?
- Do your friends or family members criticize you for doing drugs?
- Have you been using more Dalmane or other drugs than you did in the past?
- Do you think your use of Dalmane and other drugs is out of control?
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