Benzodiazepines may worsen depression. Consequently, appropriate precautions (e.g., limiting the total prescription size and increased monitoring for suicidal ideation) should be considered.
The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:
- CNS-depressant effects and next-day impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]
- Abnormal thinking and behavior changes, and complex behaviors [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)]
- Worsening of depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice. The table shows adverse reactions occurring at an incidence of 1% or greater in relatively short-duration, placebo-controlled clinical trials of DORAL.
|DORAL 15 mg||PLACEBO|
|NUMBER OF PATIENTS||267||268|
|% OF PATIENTS REPORTING|
|Central Nervous System|
|Autonomic Nervous System|
A double-blind, controlled sleep laboratory study (N=30) in elderly patients compared the effects of DORAL 7.5 mg and 15 mg to that of placebo over a period of 7 days. Both the 7.5 mg and 15 mg doses appeared to be well tolerated. Caution must be used in interpreting this data due to the small size of the study.
The concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids increases the risk of respiratory depression because of actions at different receptor sites in the CNS that control respiration. Benzodiazepines interact at GABAA sites and opioids interact primarily at mu receptors. When benzodiazepines and opioids are combined, the potential for benzodiazepines to significantly worsen opioid-related respiratory depression exists. Limit dosage and duration of concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids, and monitor patients closely for respiratory depression and sedation.
Benzodiazepines, including DORAL, produce additive CNS depressant effects when co-administered with ethanol or other CNS depressants (e.g. psychotropic medications, anticonvulsants, antihistamines). Downward dose adjustment of DORAL and/or concomitant CNS depressants may be necessary because of additive effects.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Administration of benzodiazepines immediately prior to or during childbirth can result in a syndrome of hypothermia, hypotonia, respiratory depression, and difficulty feeding. In addition, infants born to mothers who have taken benzodiazepines during the later stages of pregnancy can develop dependence, and subsequently withdrawal, during the postnatal period. Although administration of DORAL to pregnant animals did not indicate a risk for adverse effects on morphological development at clinically relevant doses, data for other benzodiazepines suggest the possibility of adverse developmental effects (long-term effects on neurobehavioral and immunological function) in animals following prenatal exposure to benzodiazepines. DORAL should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.
Developmental toxicity studies of DORAL in mice at doses up to 400 times the human dose (15 mg) revealed no major drug-related malformations. Minor fetal skeletal variations that occurred were delayed ossification of the sternum, vertebrae, distal phalanges and supraoccipital bones, at doses approximately 70 and 400 times the human dose. A developmental toxicity study of DORAL in New Zealand rabbits at doses up to approximately 130 times the human dose demonstrated no effect on fetal morphology or development of offspring.
DORAL and its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Caution should be exercised when administering DORAL to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
DORAL may cause confusion and over-sedation in the elderly. Elderly patients generally should be started on a low dose of DORAL and observed closely. Elderly and debilitated patients may be more sensitive to benzodiazepines, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. A double-blind controlled sleep laboratory study (N=30) compared the effects of DORAL 7.5 mg and 15 mg to that of placebo over a period of 7 days. Both the 7.5 mg and 15 mg doses appeared to be well tolerated. Caution must be used in interpreting this data due to the small size of the study.
Quazepam is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by federal regulation.
Addiction-prone individuals (e.g. history of drug addiction or alcoholism) should be under careful surveillance when receiving DORAL because of increased risk of abuse and dependence. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can occur following discontinuation of DORAL [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Abuse is characterized by misuse of the drug for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug and/or administration of an antagonist. Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of the drug’s effects over time. Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs and may develop at different rates for different effects.
Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, but relapse is common.
Contact a poison control center for up-to-date information on the management of benzodiazepine overdose.
Manifestations of DORAL overdose include somnolence, confusion, and coma. General supportive measures should be employed, along with immediate gastric lavage. Dialysis is of limited value. Flumazenil may be useful, but can contribute to the appearance of neurological symptoms including convulsions. Hypotension may be treated by appropriate medical intervention. Animal experiments suggest that forced diuresis or hemodialysis are of little value in treating DORAL overdose. As with the management of intentional overdose with any drug, the possibility of multiple drug ingestion should be considered.
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