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Brotizolam is a sedative drug available for the treatment of temporary insomnia and certain other conditions. It is similar in composition to benzodiazepines and is extremely potent. This drug is not available in all nations, with availability being dependent on review and approval by regulatory agencies. As of 2011, it was not approved for sale in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada, among other nations. Alternatives are available in regions where a doctor cannot prescribe brotizolam.
In addition to having sedative effects on patients, this drug can also act as a muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and hypnotic. In patients who experience temporary severe insomnia, a short course of therapy with brotizolam to help with sleep problems can be beneficial. Patients can rapidly form a dependence on the drug, making it important to use it as directed and only in the short term. If a patient does develop a tolerance, detoxification is necessary to wean the patient from the drug, as abrupt cessation can be dangerous.
Anesthesiologists may use this drug as a premedication to prepare patients for surgery. Patients are often given hypnotic agents before surgery to help them relax and make it easier to induce anesthesia. Such drugs can reduce the need for anesthetic drugs, limiting risks associated with anesthesia. The dose depends on the patient's weight and the preferences of the anesthesiologist. Surgical patients taking sedatives to manage sleep problems or anxiety should make sure their anesthesiologists are aware, as this can change the drug regimen needed to induce and maintain anesthesia safely.
People taking brotizolam can experience some side effects on the following day. Some patients report drowsiness and an interruption of the sleep schedule as a result of taking the drug. Others may find that their cognition is slowed, making it more difficult to complete tasks. This can be dangerous for people who operate heavy machinery or need to be able to engage in complex cognitive activity on the job. These individuals may want to take the first dose on the night before a day off so they can see how the drug affects them.
Sedative medications like brotizolam can be helpful for management of temporary insomnia, but they are not suitable for long term use. Patients with chronic sleep problems may have an underlying medical problem that will be masked by taking drugs to get to sleep. People who continue to have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep should consult a doctor for an evaluation. The doctor may order a sleep study and other tests to find out why the patient is having such difficulty sleeping.