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Pronounced: PROE-som
Generic name: Estazolam

Why is this drug prescribed: ProSom, a sleeping pill, is given for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Insomnia may involve difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night, or too-early morning awakening.

Most important fact about this drug: As a chemical cousin of Valium and similar tranquilizers, ProSom is potentially addictive; thus, you should plan on taking this drug only as a temporary sleeping aid. Even after relatively short-term use of ProSom, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication.

How should you take this medication: Take ProSom exactly as prescribed by your doctor. A typical schedule is 1 tablet at bedtime. For small, physically run-down, or older people, one-half a tablet may be a safer starting dose. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking ProSom. If you have ever had seizures, do not abruptly stop taking ProSom, even if you are taking antiseizure medication. Instead, taper off from ProSom under your doctor's supervision. Even if you have never had seizures, it is better to taper off from ProSom than to stop taking the medication abruptly. Experience suggests that tapering off can help prevent drug withdrawal symptoms. Typically, the only withdrawal symptoms caused by ProSom are mild and temporary insomnia or irritability. Occasionally, however, withdrawal can involve considerable discomfort or even danger, with symptoms such as abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, sweating, tremors, and vomiting. ---If you miss a dose... Take at bedtime only as needed. It is not necessary to make up a missed dose. ---Storage instructions... Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine whether it is safe for you to continue taking ProSom. More common side effects may include: Abnormal coordination, decreased movement or activity, dizziness, general feeling of illness, hangover, headache, leg and foot pain, nausea, nervousness, sleepiness, weakness Less common or rare side effects may include: Abdominal pain, abnormal dreaming, abnormal thinking, abnormal vision, acne, agitation, allergic reaction, altered taste, anxiety, apathy, arm and hand pain, arthritis, asthma, back pain, black stools, blood in urine, body pain, chest pain, chills, confusion, constant, involuntary eye movement, constipation, cough, decreased appetite, decreased hearing, decreased reflexes, decreased sex drive, depression, difficult/labored breathing, double vision, dry mouth, dry skin, ear pain, emotional changeability, eye irritation, fainting, fever, fluid retention, flushing, frequent urination, gas, hallucinations, hostility, inability to hold urine, inability to urinate, increased appetite, indigestion, inflamed sinuses, intestinal upset, itching, joint pain, lack of coordination, little or no urine flow, loss of memory, menstrual cramps, mouth sores, muscle stiffness, nasal inflammation, neck pain, nighttime urination, nosebleed, numbness or tingling around the mouth, purple or reddish spots on the skin, rapid, heavy breathing, rash, ringing in the ears, seizure, sensitivity to light, sinus problems, sleep problems, sore throat, stupor, sweating, swollen breast, swollen lymph glands, thirst, throbbing or fluttering heartbeat, tingling or "pins and needles", tremor, twitch, urgent need to urinate, vaginal discharge/itching, vomiting, weight gain or loss

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take ProSom if you are sensitive or allergic to it, or if you have ever had an adverse reaction to another Valium-type medication. Do not take ProSom if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Drugs in this class may cause damage to the unborn child.

Special warnings about this medication: Since ProSom may cloud your thinking, impair your judgment, or interfere with your normal physical coordination, do not drive, climb, or perform hazardous tasks until you know your reaction to this medication. It is important to remember that the tablet you took in the evening may continue to affect you well into the following day. If you are older or physically run-down, or if you have liver or kidney damage or breathing problems, you will be particularly vulnerable to side effects from ProSom, and you should use this medication with special caution.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Do not drink alcohol while you are taking ProSom; this combination could make you comatose or dangerously slow your breathing. For the same reason, do not combine ProSom with any other medication that might calm or slow the functioning of your central nervous system. Among such drugs are: Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin, Tegretol, and Depakene Antihistamines such as Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton Major tranquilizers such as Haldol and Mellaril Barbiturates such as phenobarbital MAO inhibitors such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate Narcotics such as Percodan and Tylox Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax If you smoke, you will tend to process and eliminate ProSom fairly quickly compared with a nonsmoker.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, you must not take ProSom; it could cause birth defects in your child. When a pregnant woman takes ProSom or a similar medication shortly before giving birth, her baby is likely to have poor muscle tone (flaccidity) and/or experience drug withdrawal symptoms. Because ProSom is thought to pass into breast milk, you should not take this medication while breastfeeding.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: The recommended initial dose is 1 milligram at bedtime; however, some people may need a 2-milligram dose. CHILDREN: There is no information on the safety and effectiveness of ProSom in people under age 18. OLDER ADULTS: The recommended usual dosage for older adults is 1 milligram. However, some people may require only 0.5 milligram.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of a ProSom overdose may include: Confusion, depressed breathing, drowsiness and eventually coma, lack of coordination, slurred speech.

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