Skip to Content

Estazolam

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 18, 2020.

Pronunciation

(es TA zoe lam)

Index Terms

  • ProSom

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Tablet, Oral:

Generic: 1 mg, 2 mg

Pharmacologic Category

  • Benzodiazepine

Pharmacology

Binds to stereospecific benzodiazepine receptors on the postsynaptic GABA neuron at several sites within the central nervous system, including the limbic system, reticular formation. Enhancement of the inhibitory effect of GABA on neuronal excitability results by increased neuronal membrane permeability to chloride ions. This shift in chloride ions results in hyperpolarization (a less excitable state) and stabilization. Benzodiazepine receptors and effects appear to be linked to the GABA-A receptors. Benzodiazepines do not bind to GABA-B receptors (Vinkers 2012).

Metabolism

Extensive hepatic metabolism to 11 inactive metabolites including 1-oxo-estazolam and 4-hydroxy-estazolam; metabolism to 4-hydroxy-estazolam is mediated by CYP3A4

Excretion

Urine (<5% as unchanged drug, >70% as inactive metabolites); feces (4%)

Time to Peak

Serum: ~2 hours (range: 0.5 to 6 hours)

Duration of Action

Variable

Half-Life Elimination

10 to 24 hours

Protein Binding

93%

Special Populations Note

Cigarette smoking: Clearance may be accelerated in smokers, presumably due to enzyme induction.

Use: Labeled Indications

Insomnia: Short-term management of insomnia characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, and/or early morning awakenings.

Limitation of use: The US Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense guidelines for the management of chronic insomnia disorder and obstructive sleep apnea suggest against the use of estazolam for chronic insomnia because the risks of chronic use outweigh the benefits (VA/DoD 2019).

Contraindications

Concurrent use with itraconazole or ketoconazole; pregnancy

Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity for benzodiazepines is limited. However, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.

Dosing: Adult

Insomnia: Oral: 1 mg at bedtime, some patients may require 2 mg.

Discontinuation of therapy: In patients receiving extended- or higher-dose benzodiazepine therapy, unless safety concerns require a more rapid withdrawal, gradually withdraw to detect reemerging symptoms and minimize rebound and withdrawal symptoms. Taper total daily dose by 10% to 20% every 1 to 2 weeks based on response and tolerability. The optimal taper rate and duration will vary; durations up to 6 months may be necessary for some patients on higher doses (Bystritsky 2019; Lader 2011; VA/DoD 2015). For patients on high doses, taper more rapidly in the beginning and slow the reduction rate as the taper progresses because earlier stages of withdrawal are easier to tolerate. For example, reduce the dose weekly by 25% until half of the dose remains. Thereafter, continue to reduce by ~12% every 4 to 7 days (VA/DoD 2015).

Dosage adjustment for concomitant therapy: Significant drug interactions exist, requiring dose/frequency adjustment or avoidance. Consult drug interactions database for more information.

Dosing: Geriatric

Insomnia: Oral: Initial: 1 mg at bedtime; initiate at 0.5 mg at bedtime in debilitated or small elderly patients; initiate increases in dose with caution.

Administration

Oral: Administer at bedtime (right before getting into bed or in bed). Do not administer with or right after a meal.

Storage

Store at 20°C to 25°C (68° to 77°F). Protect from light.

Drug Interactions

Alcohol (Ethyl): CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Alcohol (Ethyl). Monitor therapy

Alizapride: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Azelastine (Nasal): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Avoid combination

Blonanserin: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Blonanserin. Management: Use caution if coadministering blonanserin and CNS depressants; dose reduction of the other CNS depressant may be required. Strong CNS depressants should not be coadministered with blonanserin. Consider therapy modification

Brexanolone: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Brexanolone. Monitor therapy

Brimonidine (Topical): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Bromopride: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Bromperidol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Avoid combination

Buprenorphine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Buprenorphine. Management: Consider reduced doses of other CNS depressants, and avoiding such drugs in patients at high risk of buprenorphine overuse/self-injection. Initiate buprenorphine at lower doses in patients already receiving CNS depressants. Consider therapy modification

Cannabidiol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Cannabis: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Chlormethiazole: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Monitor closely for evidence of excessive CNS depression. The chlormethiazole labeling states that an appropriately reduced dose should be used if such a combination must be used. Consider therapy modification

Chlorphenesin Carbamate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

CloZAPine: Benzodiazepines may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CloZAPine. Management: Consider decreasing the dose of (or possibly discontinuing) benzodiazepines prior to initiating clozapine. Consider therapy modification

CNS Depressants: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Dimethindene (Topical): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Doxylamine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: The manufacturer of Diclegis (doxylamine/pyridoxine), intended for use in pregnancy, specifically states that use with other CNS depressants is not recommended. Monitor therapy

Dronabinol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Droperidol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Consider dose reductions of droperidol or of other CNS agents (eg, opioids, barbiturates) with concomitant use. Consider therapy modification

Esketamine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Flunitrazepam: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Flunitrazepam. Management: Reduce the dose of CNS depressants when combined with flunitrazepam and monitor patients for evidence of CNS depression (eg, sedation, respiratory depression). Use non-CNS depressant alternatives when available. Consider therapy modification

Fosphenytoin: Benzodiazepines may increase the serum concentration of Fosphenytoin. Short-term exposure to benzodiazepines may not present as much risk as chronic therapy. Monitor therapy

HydrOXYzine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Itraconazole: May increase the serum concentration of Estazolam. Avoid combination

Kava Kava: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Ketoconazole (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Estazolam. Avoid combination

Lemborexant: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Dosage adjustments of lemborexant and of concomitant CNS depressants may be necessary when administered together because of potentially additive CNS depressant effects. Close monitoring for CNS depressant effects is necessary. Consider therapy modification

Lisuride: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Lofexidine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Magnesium Sulfate: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Melatonin: May enhance the sedative effect of Benzodiazepines. Monitor therapy

Methadone: Benzodiazepines may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Methadone. Management: Clinicians should generally avoid concurrent use of methadone and benzodiazepines when possible; any combined use should be undertaken with extra caution. Consider therapy modification

Methotrimeprazine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Methotrimeprazine. Methotrimeprazine may enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Reduce the usual dose of CNS depressants by 50% if starting methotrimeprazine until the dose of methotrimeprazine is stable. Monitor patient closely for evidence of CNS depression. Consider therapy modification

Metoclopramide: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

MetyroSINE: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of MetyroSINE. Monitor therapy

Minocycline (Systemic): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Nabilone: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

OLANZapine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Benzodiazepines. Management: Avoid concomitant use of parenteral benzodiazepines and IM olanzapine due to risks of additive adverse events (e.g., cardiorespiratory depression). Olanzapine prescribing information provides no specific recommendations regarding oral administration. Avoid combination

Opioid Agonists: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Opioid Agonists. Management: Avoid concomitant use of opioid agonists and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug. Consider therapy modification

Orphenadrine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Orphenadrine. Avoid combination

Oxomemazine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Avoid combination

Oxybate Salt Products: Benzodiazepines may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Oxybate Salt Products. Avoid combination

OxyCODONE: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of OxyCODONE. Management: Avoid concomitant use of oxycodone and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug. Consider therapy modification

Paraldehyde: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Paraldehyde. Avoid combination

Perampanel: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Patients taking perampanel with any other drug that has CNS depressant activities should avoid complex and high-risk activities, particularly those such as driving that require alertness and coordination, until they have experience using the combination. Consider therapy modification

Phenytoin: Benzodiazepines may increase the serum concentration of Phenytoin. Short-term exposure to benzodiazepines may not present as much risk as chronic therapy. Monitor therapy

Piribedil: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Piribedil. Monitor therapy

Pramipexole: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of Pramipexole. Monitor therapy

ROPINIRole: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of ROPINIRole. Monitor therapy

Rotigotine: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of Rotigotine. Monitor therapy

Rufinamide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Specifically, sleepiness and dizziness may be enhanced. Monitor therapy

Suvorexant: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Suvorexant. Management: Dose reduction of suvorexant and/or any other CNS depressant may be necessary. Use of suvorexant with alcohol is not recommended, and the use of suvorexant with any other drug to treat insomnia is not recommended. Consider therapy modification

Teduglutide: May increase the serum concentration of Benzodiazepines. Monitor therapy

Tetrahydrocannabinol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Thalidomide: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Thalidomide. Avoid combination

Theophylline Derivatives: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Benzodiazepines. Monitor therapy

Trimeprazine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Monitor therapy

Yohimbine: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Antianxiety Agents. Monitor therapy

Zolpidem: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Zolpidem. Management: Reduce the Intermezzo brand sublingual zolpidem adult dose to 1.75 mg for men who are also receiving other CNS depressants. No such dose change is recommended for women. Avoid use with other CNS depressants at bedtime; avoid use with alcohol. Consider therapy modification

Adverse Reactions

The following adverse drug reactions and incidences are derived from product labeling unless otherwise specified.

>10%: Central nervous system: Drowsiness (42%)

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Dizziness (7%), ataxia (4%), hangover effect (3%), abnormality in thinking (2%), confusion (2%), anxiety (≥1%)

Dermatologic: Pruritus (1%)

Gastrointestinal: Constipation (≥1%), xerostomia (≥1%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Hypokinesia (8%), leg pain (3%), stiffness (1%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Acne vulgaris, adenopathy, agitation, agranulocytosis, amnesia, apathy, arm pain, arthralgia, arthritis, asthma, auditory impairment, breast swelling, cardiac arrhythmia, chills, cough, decreased appetite, decreased libido, diaphoresis, diplopia, dysgeusia, dyspnea, edema, emotional lability, enterocolitis, epistaxis, euphoria, eye irritation, eye pain, fever, flatulence, flushing, gastritis, genital discharge, hallucination, hematuria, hostility, hypersensitivity reaction, hyperventilation, hyporeflexia, increased appetite, increased serum AST, increased thirst, jaw pain, laryngitis, leukopenia, melena, muscle spasm, myalgia, neck pain, neuritis, nocturia, nystagmus, oliguria, oral mucosa ulcer, oral paresthesia, otalgia, palpitations, paresthesia, pelvic cramps (menstrual cramps), photophobia, polyuria, purpura, rhinitis, scotoma, seizure, sinusitis, skin photosensitivity, skin rash, sleep disorder, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, stupor, swelling of eye, syncope, thyroid nodule, tinnitus, tremor, twitching, urinary hesitancy, urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, urticaria, visual disturbance, vomiting, vulvovaginal pruritus, weight gain, weight loss, xeroderma

ALERT: U.S. Boxed Warning

Risk from concomitant use with opioids:

Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Abuse, misuse, and addiction:

The use of benzodiazepines, including estazolam, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing estazolam and throughout treatment, assess each patient's risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction.

Dependence and withdrawal reactions:

The continued use of benzodiazepines, including estazolam, for several days to weeks may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of estazolam after continued use may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue estazolam or reduce the dosage.

Warnings/Precautions

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Anterograde amnesia: Benzodiazepines have been associated with anterograde amnesia (Nelson 1999).

• CNS depression: May cause CNS depression, which may impair physical or mental abilities; patients must be cautioned about performing tasks which require mental alertness (eg, operating machinery or driving).

• Hypersensitivity reactions: Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, have been reported, and in some cases, following initial dosing. Patients who develop severe reactions should not be rechallenged.

• Paradoxical reactions: Paradoxical reactions, including hyperactive or aggressive behavior, have been reported with benzodiazepines; risk may be increased in adolescent/pediatric patients, geriatric patients, or patients with a history of alcohol use disorder or psychiatric/personality disorders (Mancuso 2004)

• Sleep-related activities: Hazardous sleep-related activities such as sleep-driving, cooking and eating food, and making phone calls while asleep have been noted with benzodiazepines (Dolder 2008).

Disease-related concerns:

• Depression: Use caution in patients with depression, particularly if suicidal risk may be present; preexisting depression may emerge or worsen during therapy.

• Hepatic impairment: Use with caution in patients with hepatic impairment.

• Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment.

• Respiratory disease: Use with caution in patients with respiratory disease. Benzodiazepines may cause significant respiratory depression.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Concomitant use with opioids: [US Boxed warning]: Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Special populations:

• Debilitated patients: Use with caution in debilitated patients; initial doses should be at the lower end of dosing range.

• Elderly: Use with caution in the elderly, especially small or debilitated elderly patients. Elderly patients may be at an increased risk of death with use; risk has been found highest within the first 4 months of use in elderly dementia patients (Jennum 2015; Saarelainen 2018).

• Fall risk: Use with extreme caution in patients who are at risk of falls; benzodiazepines have been associated with falls and traumatic injury (Nelson 1999).

Other warning/precautions:

• Abuse, misuse, and addiction: [US Boxed warning]: The use of benzodiazepines, including estazolam, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Assess each patient's risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction prior to and throughout treatment; counsel patients at increased risk on proper use and monitoring for signs and symptoms of abuse, misuse, and addiction. Institute early treatment or refer patients in whom substance use disorder is suspected. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.

• Appropriate use: Does not have analgesic, antidepressant, or antipsychotic properties. Should be used only after evaluation of potential causes of sleep disturbance. Failure of sleep disturbance to resolve after 7 to 10 days may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness. Worsening insomnia or the emergence of new abnormalities of thought or behavior may represent unrecognized psychiatric or physical disorder. Use lowest effect dose (adverse events appear dose-related). Prolonged use is not recommended.

• Dependence and withdrawal reactions: [US Boxed warning]: The continued use of benzodiazepines, including estazolam, for several days to weeks may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of estazolam after continued use may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue estazolam or reduce the dosage. Some patients may develop a protracted withdrawal syndrome lasting >12 months. Flumazenil may cause withdrawal in patients receiving long-term benzodiazepine therapy.

• Tolerance: Estazolam is a short half-life benzodiazepine. Duration of action after a single dose is determined by redistribution rather than metabolism. Tolerance develops to the effects (Vinkers 2012). Chronic use of this agent may increase the perioperative benzodiazepine dose needed to achieve desired effect.

• Withdrawal: A longer sleep-onset latency and increased awakenings during sleep may occur for 1 to 2 days following the discontinuation of GABA-mediated (GABAergic) medications. A more severe withdrawal syndrome may rarely occur following abrupt discontinuation or large decreases in dose after sustained use (>10 days), and is characterized by new-onset agitation, ataxia, depersonalization, dizziness, dysphoria, fatigue, headache, hypersensitivity to stimuli, irritability, muscle cramps or pain, nausea, sweating, twitching, vomiting, and weakness. This withdrawal syndrome generally resolves within weeks or upon reinitiation of the GABAergic medication. Intermittent dosing may reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms (BAP [Wilson 2019]). Use caution when reducing dose or withdrawing therapy; decrease slowly and monitor for withdrawal symptoms.

Monitoring Parameters

Respiratory and cardiovascular status; CBC, electrolytes, and urinalysis periodically during prolonged use; daytime alertness; behavior profile

Pregnancy Risk Factor

X

Pregnancy Considerations

Although information specific to estazolam has not been located, all benzodiazepines are assumed to cross the placenta. Teratogenic effects have been observed with some benzodiazepines; however, additional studies are needed. The incidence of premature birth and low birth weights may be increased following maternal use of benzodiazepines; hypoglycemia and respiratory problems in the neonate may occur following exposure late in pregnancy. Neonatal withdrawal symptoms may occur within days to weeks after birth and “floppy infant syndrome” (which also includes withdrawal symptoms) has been reported with some benzodiazepines (Bergman 1992; Iqbal 2002; Wikner 2007). The use of estazolam is contraindicated in pregnant women.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat sleep problems.

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Dry mouth

• Nausea

• Headache

• Anxiety

• Day fatigue

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Depression

• Thoughts of suicide

• Behavioral changes

• Mood changes

• Sensing things that seem real but are not

• Trouble with memory

• Change in balance

• Trouble moving

• Trouble breathing

• Swelling in your throat

• Confusion

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine’s uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.