Brotizolam is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is sold by the brand name Lendormin. Doctors most commonly prescribe the drug as part of a short-term treatment plan for very severe cases of insomnia. It is very potent at low doses and has an average half-life of about four and a half hours. T. Nishiyama headed the Takeda Chemical Industries team that created the drug in 1976. Lendormin is currently not legal to be used or sold in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom because of its high potential for abuse. The only countries that allow the sale of Lendormin and other benzodiazepine drugs are Japan, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Israel, and the Netherlands. This drug is only to be used in extreme cases and it should never be prescribed as the first line of treatment.
Why is this Drug Prescribed?
The primary reason that physicians prescribe brotizolam is to temporarily treat cases of insomnia that are so severe that they are incapacitating. The duration of treatment for this drug is usually between two and four weeks. Extending treatment beyond this time period significantly increases the likelihood of dependency. When used to treat insomnia, doses of between 0.125 and 0.25 milligrams are the most commonly prescribed.
As an alternative to two milligram doses of flunitrazepam, 0.25 milligram doses of Lendormin can also be used as a pre-medication before surgery is performed.
Side Effects and Warnings
The most commonly encountered side effects of this drug include:
- Depression of the Central Nervous System
- Anterograde amnesia
- Impaired motor functions
- Slurred speech
- The following side effects are possible with normal use, but are much less likely to occur. They include:
- Depression of the respiratory system
- Nausea and vomiting
- Aggression and violent behavior
Even though Lendormin has a short half-life of about 4 and a half hours, some side effects such as impaired motor and cognitive skills and drowsiness may be present the following day. The patient may also experience a change in their sleep pattern that includes the loss of REM sleep. Side effects like these are more common when doses between 0.5 and one milligram are taken. Some patients also experience a mild re-occurrence of their insomnia once treatment has ended.
Special precautions are taken when this drug is prescribed to children, pregnant women, the elderly, patients with co-morbid psychiatric conditions, and those who have pre-existing problems with drug or alcohol dependency.