Halcion Side Effects

Generic Name: triazolam

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of triazolam. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Halcion.

Not all side effects for Halcion may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to triazolam: oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by triazolam (the active ingredient contained in Halcion). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking triazolam:

Less common
  • Shakiness and unsteady walk
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
Rare
  • Being forgetful
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • discouragement
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling sad or empty
  • hearing loss
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • nightmares
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
Incidence not known
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • actions that are out of control
  • aggressiveness
  • anxiety
  • changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • dark urine
  • decrease in frequency of urination
  • decrease in urine volume
  • difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • environment seems unreal
  • fainting
  • falling
  • false beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
  • feeling of unreality
  • fever
  • headache
  • hyperventilation
  • inability to move the eyes
  • increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
  • increased muscle spasm
  • irregular heartbeats
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of memory
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • painful urination
  • problems with memory
  • rash
  • relaxed and calm
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sense of detachment from self or body
  • sleep walking
  • sleepiness
  • slurred speech
  • sticking out of tongue
  • talking, feeling, and acting with excitement
  • trouble breathing, speaking, or swallowing
  • uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, arms, or legs
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
  • unusual facial expressions
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some of the side effects that can occur with triazolam may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Lightheadedness
Rare
  • Any change in vision
  • blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • change in taste, or bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • cracked, dry, or scaly skin
  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • dry mouth
  • swelling
  • weakness
Incidence not known
  • Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increase in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • increase interest in sexual intercourse
  • itching skin
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • menstrual changes
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to triazolam: oral tablet

General

Some side effects reported with triazolam (the active ingredient contained in Halcion) including drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and amnesia, appear to be dose related.[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Drowsiness, sedation
Common (1% to 10%): Ataxia, concentration difficulty, dizziness, headache, impaired coordination, impaired equilibrium, lethargy, lightheadedness, tiredness
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Memory impairment
Frequency not reported: Amnestic symptoms (anterograde amnesia with appropriate or inappropriate behavior), clouding of consciousness, dysesthesia, dystonia, increased muscle spasticity, paresthesia, somnambulism, syncope, taste alteration, tinnitus, travelers amnesia[Ref]

Complex behaviors, such as "sleep-driving", other behaviors such as preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex, with amnesia for these events, have been reported at therapeutic doses with this medicine.[Ref]

Psychiatric

Rebound insomnia (a worsening of sleep following cessation of therapy) has been observed and has sometimes been reported to occur in association with increased daytime anxiety.

Withdrawal symptoms have included agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, psychosis, delirium, convulsions, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting, and sweating.

Worsening of insomnia, depression, or the emergence of new thinking or behavior abnormalities, including suicidal thinking, have emerged during treatment with sedative-hypnotic drugs, including triazolam (the active ingredient contained in Halcion) The frequency and extent to which triazolam therapy is associated with adverse behavioral effects is controversial.

One study based on the postmarketing surveillance Spontaneous Reporting System of the FDA has suggested that adverse behavioral reactions have been reported 22 to 99 times more frequently in association with triazolam therapy than with temazepam therapy for insomnia. An increased frequency of adverse behavioral effects was noted to occur most frequently in elderly patients and at higher doses of triazolam. The methodology of this study, however, has been questioned on the grounds that spontaneous reports of adverse effects do not necessarily correlate with the incidence of adverse effects.

Other studies and reports have concluded that little evidence exists to support the contention that triazolam therapy is associated with a greater risk of adverse behavioral effects than other benzodiazepines (including temazepam).[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety, nervousness
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Confusional states, depression, euphoria
Frequency not reported: Abnormal dreams, acute rage, aggressiveness, agitation, bizarre behavior, delusions, dependence, depersonalization, derealization, disorientation in time or place, dysarthria, excitement, hallucinations, paranoia, hostility, nightmares, increased daytime anxiety, insomnia, sleep disturbances, stimulation, withdrawal syndrome[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Tachycardia
Frequency not reported: Chest pain, palpitations[Ref]

Dermatologic

Frequency not reported: Angioneurotic edema, dermatitis, pruritus, skin alteration[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting
Frequency not reported: Burning tongue, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, glossitis, stomatitis[Ref]

Genitourinary

Frequency not reported: Changes in libido, incontinence, menstrual irregularities, urinary retention[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Jaundice[Ref]

Death from hepatic failure has been reported in a patient also receiving diuretic drugs.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactoid reaction, allergic edema, anaphylactic shock[Ref]

Metabolic

Frequency not reported: Anorexia[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pains/cramps[Ref]

Ocular

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Visual disturbances[Ref]

Other

Frequency not reported: Congestion, falling, fatigue, weakness[Ref]

Respiratory

Frequency not reported: Hiccups, respiratory depression[Ref]

One study of patients with obstructive sleep apnea has suggested that triazolam may increase the maximum apnea duration and lower the minimum oxygen saturation of apneic patients.[Ref]

References

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. "Product Information. Halcion (triazolam)." Pharmacia and Upjohn, Kalamazoo, MI.

3. Rothschild AJ "Disinhibition, amnestic reactions, and other adverse reactions secondary to triazolam: a review of the literature." J Clin Psychiatry 53 (1992): 69-79

4. Morris HH, 3d Estes ML "Traveler's amnesia. Transient global amnesia secondary to triazolam." JAMA 258 (1987): 945-6

5. Patterson WM "Triazolam withdrawal." J Clin Psychiatry 49 (1988): 369

6. Andreadis NA, Schirmer RG "Use of spontaneous reporting system data." Arch Intern Med 152 (1992): 1527-9

7. Wysowski DK, Barash D "Adverse behavioral reactions attributed to triazolam in the Food and Drug Administration's Spontaneous Reporting System." Arch Intern Med 151 (1991): 2003-8

8. Schneider LS, Syapin PJ, Pawluczyk S "Seizures following triazolam withdrawal despite benzodiazepine treatment." J Clin Psychiatry 48 (1987): 418-9

9. Schogt B, Conn D "Paranoid symptoms associated with triazolam." Can J Psychiatry 30 (1985): 462-3

10. Rush CR, Higgins ST, Hughes JR, Bickel WK "A comparison of the acute behavioral effects of triazolam and temazepam in normal volunteers." Psychopharmacology (Berl) 112 (1993): 407-14

11. Heritch AJ, Capwell R, Roy-Byrne PP "A case of psychosis and delirium following withdrawal from triazolam." J Clin Psychiatry 48 (1987): 168-9

12. Weilburg JB, Sachs G, Falk WE "Triazolam-induced brief episodes of secondary mania in a depressed patient." J Clin Psychiatry 48 (1987): 492-3

13. Sullivan RJ, Jr "Respiratory depression requiring ventilatory support following 0.5 mg of triazolam." J Am Geriatr Soc 37 (1989): 450-2

14. Berry RB, Kouchi K, Bower J, Prosise G, Light RW "Triazolam in patients with obstructive sleep apnea." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 151 (1995): 450-4

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