Temazepam and diazepam are pharmaceutical drug compounds that have a similar chemical structure and classification, but they differ primarily in terms of what conditions they treat and how they interact with other drugs. In some cases the side effects can be different, too, particularly as concerns pregnancy and unborn children. In most cases people use temazepam to treat insomnia and physical sleep disorders, whereas diazepam is more commonly used for anxiety and other more deeply rooted psychological issues. Both are considered benzodiazepines and they can sometimes be used interchangeably with acceptable results. Their specifications are different enough, though, that people are usually best served by taking the medication most closely linked to their particular condition.
Where They Come From
Both drugs are benzodiazepines, which means that they come from the same family of medications synthesized from chemical benzene and diazepene. All members of this family are psychoactive drugs with a range of effects, which can include muscle relaxation, sedation, anti-convulsion, and anti-anxiety. In addition, insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms are sometimes treated with these types of drugs, and they are often used in the treatment for alcohol withdrawal. In different concentrations they can be used as pre-operative sedatives for minor medical procedures as well as for dental procedures.
To some degree both temazepam and diazepam have these characteristics. They are both considered to be highly effective and safe for short-term use, but the biggest difference is what they’re most effective at treating. The drugs are manufactured slightly differently and as a result can and do tend to interact with different parts of a person’s brain chemistry.
Temazepam is prescribed mainly to patients who suffer from insomnia. This means it can usually only be safely taken just before an extended period of sleep. In many cases it will also serve as a muscle relaxant, which can help people drift off to sleep and remain tired. It is known as a hypnotic, which means that it can lull people into sleep but may also interfere with their sleep pattern in the process.
Diazepam, on the other hand, may help people relax which can cause sleep — but it isn’t usually prescribed for this purpose. It is usually considered an anti-anxiety medication, and can be taken by people to control a range of different stress-related and societal mood disorders. In less concentrated doses it may help relieve muscle spasms the medical condition known as “restless leg syndrome”; it can also be used to treat an inner ear disorder called Meniere’s disease.
Another of the most important differences between these drugs is the number and variety of medications with which each interacts. Temazepam has been shown to interact with several types of antifungal medication, for instance, as well as with a small number of antidepressants. Diazepam, on the other hand, can interact with a much wider range of medications, including most other anti-anxiety drugs, most sedatives, and many pain killers, both prescription and over-the-counter. Health experts don’t usually recommend that patients take either drug with alcohol since alcohol can amplify the effects and may create a hazardous health situation. When taking any medication, it is important for patients to understand the types of drug interactions possible since these can increase or reduce the efficacy of the drugs, as well as potentially exacerbate their side effects
Benzodiazepines in general are known to have potentially serious effects on unborn children, but temazepam and diazepam do not always cause the same symptoms. In the case of temazepam, evidence suggests that taking this medication during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, though there are only a small number of cases reported. Diazepam use during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester, can cause breathing difficulties in the newborn and in most cases is only given after careful analysis of the risks to both mother and unborn child.
Both drugs are also widely considered to be addictive. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and harmful psychological effects. Most of the time, doctors and other health care providers will only prescribe these and related drugs in limited quantities, usually just enough to treat the condition for the immediate future. Patients often have to make recurring appointments for regular check-ups, and will generally only continue receiving prescriptions so long as the drugs remain medically necessary.