Nitrazepam belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. It acts on receptors in the brain (GABA receptors) causing the release of a chemical called GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). GABA is a major inhibitory chemical in the brain involved in inducing sleepiness and control of anxiety and fits.
Nitrazepam acts by increasing the activity of GABA, thereby reducing the functioning of certain areas of the brain. This results in sleepiness, a decrease in anxiety and relaxation of muscles.
Nitrazepam is most commonly used to treat insomnia. It decreases the time taken to fall asleep and nocturnal awakenings, as well as increasing the total amount of time spent sleeping. As nitrazepam remains active in the body for many hours, drowsiness may occur the next day.
What is it used for?
Difficulty in sleeping (insomnia)
Use with caution in
– Disease affecting the airways or lungs (respiratory disease)
– Elderly people
– History of alcoholism or drug abuse
– Kidney disease
– Life long inherited blood diseases which can cause a variety of symptoms, including mental health problems (porphyrias)
– Liver disease
– Muscle weakness
– Personality disorders
Not to be used in
– A sudden worsening of any underlying lung disease (acute pulmonary insufficiency)
– Abnormal muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
– Phobias or obsessional states
– Severe liver disease
– Slow, shallow breathing (respiratory depression)
– Syndrome involving short spells when breathing stops during sleep (sleep apnoea syndrome)
– Treatment as a single medication for depression or chronic psychosis
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.