Dalmane (flurazepam) is a brand-name benzodiazepine, available by prescription only. Dalmane is prescribed to treat symptoms of insomnia, and it should only be used for one to two weeks, at a maximum. This is similar to other benzodiazepines, intended only as short-term treatments. The reason benzos are short-term medications is because they have the potential to be habit-forming. Physical dependence is possible as well. Along with treating insomnia, benzos can also be used to treat conditions like anxiety and panic disorder.
The action of onset time and how long they are effective can vary significantly between benzodiazepines. These differences can also determine how addictive a benzo is, or how likely it is to cause physical dependence. The length of time a benzo stays in the system can also be relevant regarding drug tests, determining when withdrawal symptoms could begin in benzo-dependent people and to answer questions about overdoses. For example, if someone takes a long-acting benzodiazepine that stays in the system for many hours, they could inadvertently overdose.
Dalmane should ideally only be used to treat insomnia for a few weeks. This particular benzodiazepine does have what is called carryover effects. This means that it becomes more effective on nights two, three and four after using it, as compared to the first night. This is because a specific active metabolite gathers in the system of the person using it. For some people, they may continue feeling the effects a night or two after they stop using Dalmane.
This means Dalmane has a long half-life. The onset of action begins within anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, and the hypnotic effects last for around 7 to 8 hours in most people. Dalmane is metabolized primarily by the liver, and the half-life of flurazepam is 2.3 hours. The longer-lasting metabolite of Dalmane has a half-life of anywhere from 47 to 100 hours. For geriatric patients, the half-life of the active metabolite can be nearly 160 hours.
Due to the long half-life of Dalmane, there are more likely to be residual sedative effects. This means that people may feel impaired, intoxicated or “hungover” even the day after taking Dalmane. It can affect mental and psychomotor performance during the day, even when it’s used for insomnia at night. These effects mean that Dalmane may not be the right medication for all patients.
People who use Dalmane should be very aware of the long half-life and the fact that a metabolite of the drug can stay in the system for 100 hours. This is especially relevant for anyone who takes opioid pain medications, alcohol, barbiturates or other central nervous system depressants. Combining Dalmane with a CNS depressant can cause overdose and fatal respiratory depression. Since Dalmane stays in the system so long, it will also show up in drug tests for longer periods of time. This means that withdrawal symptoms will take longer to start. The symptoms of Dalmane withdrawal are also likely to last longer because it takes so long for the drug to fully leave the system.
Recovery from drug misuse or addiction is possible, and The Recovery Village can help point you in the right direction to find the treatment program that will work well for your needs or the needs of your loved one. Reach out to us to find out more.
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