To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue triazolam or reduce the dosage (a patient-specific plan should be used to taper the dose) [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)] .
Patients at an increased risk of withdrawal adverse reactions after benzodiazepine discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction include those who take higher dosages, and those who have had longer durations of use.
Acute Withdrawal Reactions
The continued use of benzodiazepines, including triazolam, may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of triazolam after continued use, or administration of flumazenil (a benzodiazepine antagonist) may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life threatening (e.g., seizures) [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)] .
Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome
In some cases, benzodiazepine users have developed a protracted withdrawal syndrome with withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks to more than 12 months [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)] .
Since sleep disturbances may be the presenting manifestation of a physical and/or psychiatric disorder, symptomatic treatment of insomnia should be initiated only after a careful evaluation of the patient. The failure of insomnia to remit after 7 to 10 days of treatment may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. Worsening of insomnia or the emergence of new thinking or behavior abnormalities may be the consequence of an unrecognized psychiatric or physical disorder. Such findings have emerged during the course of treatment with sedative-hypnotic drugs.
Complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported with triazolam use. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-naïve as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons. Although behaviors such as sleep-driving may occur with sedative-hypnotics alone at recommended dosages, the use of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants with sedative-hypnotics appears to increase the risk of such behaviors, as does the use of sedative-hypnotics at doses exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Due to the risk to the patient and the community, discontinuation of sedative-hypnotics should be strongly considered for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode.
Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic, including triazolam. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
An increase in daytime anxiety has been reported for triazolam after as few as 10 days of continuous use. In some patients this may be a manifestation of interdose withdrawal. If increased daytime anxiety is observed during treatment, discontinuation of treatment may be advisable.
A variety of abnormal thinking and behavior changes have been reported to occur in association with the use of benzodiazepine hypnotics including triazolam. Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition, e.g., aggressiveness and extroversion that seem excessive, similar to that seen with alcohol and other CNS depressants (e.g., sedative/hypnotics). Other kinds of behavioral changes have also been reported, for example, bizarre behavior, agitation, hallucinations, depersonalization. In primarily depressed patients, the worsening of depression, including suicidal thinking, has been reported in association with the use of benzodiazepines [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.9) ] .
Some adverse reactions reported in association with the use of triazolam such as drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, and amnesia appear to be dose related. More serious behavioral phenomena such as confusion, bizarre or abnormal behavior, agitation, and hallucinations may also be dose related, but this evidence is inconclusive. Therapy should be initiated at the lowest effective dose [ see Dosage and Administration (2.1) ] .
It can rarely be determined with certainty whether a particular instance of the abnormal behaviors listed above is drug induced, spontaneous in origin, or a result of an underlying psychiatric or physical disorder. Nonetheless, the emergence of any new behavioral sign or symptom of concern requires careful and immediate evaluation.
Anterograde amnesia of varying severity and paradoxical reactions have been reported following recommended dosages of triazolam. Data from several sources suggest that anterograde amnesia may occur at a higher rate with triazolam than with other benzodiazepine hypnotics. Because triazolam can cause drowsiness and a decreased level of consciousness, patients, particularly the elderly, are at higher risk of falls.
Cases of “traveler’s amnesia” have been reported by individuals who have taken triazolam to induce sleep while traveling, such as during an airplane flight. In some of these cases, insufficient time was allowed for the sleep period prior to awakening and before beginning activity. Also, the concomitant use of alcohol may have been a factor in some cases.
Due to its depressant CNS effects, patients receiving triazolam should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. For the same reason, patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of alcohol and other CNS depressant drugs during treatment with triazolam.
The initial step in triazolam metabolism is hydroxylation catalyzed by CYP 3A. Drugs that inhibit this metabolic pathway may have a profound effect on the clearance of triazolam.
Strong CYP 3A Inhibitors
Triazolam is contraindicated in patients receiving strong inhibitors of CYP 3A such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, nefazodone, ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, and lopinavir [ see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)] .
Moderate and Weak CYP 3A Inhibitors
Triazolam should be used with caution in patients receiving moderate or weak inhibitors of CYP 3A. If coadministered, consider dose reduction of triazolam.
Coadministration of erythromycin increased the maximum plasma concentration, decreased clearance and increased half-life of triazolam [ see Drug Interactions (7.1), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)] ; caution and consideration of appropriate triazolam dose reduction are recommended. Similar caution should be observed during coadministration with clarithromycin and other macrolide antibiotics.
Coadministration of cimetidine increased the maximum plasma concentration, decreased clearance and increased half-life of triazolam [ see Drug Interactions (7.1), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)] ; caution and consideration of appropriate triazolam dose reduction are recommended.
Benzodiazepines may worsen depression. Consequently, appropriate precautions (e.g., limiting the total prescription size and increased monitoring for suicidal ideation) should be considered in patients with depression.
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