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Benzodiazepines

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Benzodiazepines Children, Adult

Benzodiazepines - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Benzodiazepines cause?

Generally, the common side effects tend to occur at the beginning of treatment. Such side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, unsteadiness, memory impairment and difficulty in concentrating. Be careful when taking over-the-counter medicines. Medicines for cold and allergy may add on to the drowsiness. Be sure to supervise your child when he/she is involved in activities such as cycling or swimming.
  • Difficulties in breathing, abnormal heart beat
  • Increase salivation or drooling (especially with nitrazepam)
  • Double vision and blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. If the medication upsets the stomach, take it with food but do not take it with carbonated drinks.
  • Muscle weakness or pain

Inform your doctor if any of the above side effects lasts for more than a few days or if they become serious or bothersome.

Rare but serious side effects may sometimes occur. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:

  • Hallucinations (hear or see things that do not exist), confusion or impaired consciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing or tightness in the chest
  • Skin rash
  • Unusual behavioural changes such as hyperactivity or mood changes like increased irritability. This includes feeling excitable, over-talkative and disinhibited and/or having intrusive thoughts.

Inform your doctor if you notice any other unusual symptoms . Always discuss with your doctor or pharmacists if there are any problems or difficulties during or after taking benzodiazepines.​​

Take note that the side effects listed here are not exhaustive. Do seek medical attention if you have other symptoms that you think may be related to these medicines.

Before taking Benzodiazepines, what precautions must I follow?

​What do I need to tell my doctor before I take these medicines?

  • Drug allergies.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as lung disease and sleep apnoea (temporary stopping of breathing during sleep).
  • Whether you are taking any other medicines, supplements or traditional medicines. Some of them may affect how this medicines works.
  • For women: Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or have plans to become pregnant. If you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, your doctor would have discussed the potential benefits and side-effects of continuing this medicine with you but should you have further questions or concerns, do consult your doctor.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Benzodiazepines?

Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit products if you/your child has been prescribed with this group of medication.

These medicines may interact with a number of other medicines. Inform your doctor if you are taking or intend to start taking other medicines or supplements.

 

​​​​​Click here​ for more information on Benzodiazepines as treatment for complex motor disorders in children.

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