The drug is prescribed to treat insomnia (the inability to sleep or stay asleep), epilepsy (seizures), panic disorder, and anxiety disorder.

 IUPAC name: 7-nitro-5-phenyl-1,3-dihydro-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one

Drug class: Sedative-hypnotics, benzodiazepine

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Route of administration: Oral

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Nitrazepam, a long-acting benzodiazepine, acts by increasing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter), at the GABA A receptor, inducing anti-anxiety, sedative-hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and muscle-relaxing effects.

Side effects

It may cause dizziness, drowsiness, loss of coordination, fatigue, muscle cramps, depression, hallucination, headache, muscle weakness, tremors, rash/itching, and shortness of breath.


Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

If you are allergic to benzodiazepines (such as lorazepam, oxazepam, or diazepam), or if you have other allergies,

If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),

When you have a history of liver disease, kidney disease, myasthenia gravis (a type of muscle disease), sleepwalking, obstructive sleep apnea, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), glaucoma, mental disorders,

If you have undergone any type of surgery,

Limit your alcohol usage since it increases your chances of developing blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness. It may also cause a loss of alertness.

Sometimes, older adults and children may be more sensitive to this medication.

Use of this medication is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

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