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Triazolam (halcion): psychological disturbances

Abstract

When we discussed triazolam (Halcion - Upjohn) (August 17, p. 65) we noted that, like other benzodiazepines, it may cause drowsiness, dizziness, undue sedation and ataxia. In July a report of more serious adverse reactions appeared in a Dutch medical journal.1 A psychiatrist described 4 patients treated with triazolam for long-standing insomnia who developed intolerable psychological changes, including severe anxiety, depersonalisation, feelings of unreality, paranoia, restlessness, hyperacousis, altered smell and taste, and paraesthesiae. All these symptoms ceased when the patients stopped using the drug. This report led to much public discussion in Holland, and after receiving about 600 reports of suspected reactions from doctors the Dutch drug registration authority decided to suspend the sale of triazolam for 6 months.2 During this time the matter will be investigated with the active cooperation of Upjohn.

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