Is Halcion (Triazolam) A Controlled Substance?

Halcion is a controlled substance that requires a prescription written by a licensed physician because of the potential for misuse and abuse.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), triazolam (brand name Halcion) is a benzodiazepine that’s a Schedule IV controlled substance with potential for abuse. Halcion is a prescription drug used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.
Halcion is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant which is used to slow the nervous system.

Halcion has the potential for abuse because it produces sedative effects to assist with sleeping problems. It is also considered a sedative-hypnotic. Some may combine this drug with other substances or take larger doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect.

Those who combine Halcion with other CNS depressants such as opioids or alcohol can suffer from life-threatening issues such as respiratory depression, coma, or death.

Effects Of Halcion Abuse

When used properly, Halcion may produce a number of common or short-term side effects. When abused, however, the worsening of side effects may take place, leading to serious effects.

Worsened Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of triazolam that may be worsened if abused include:

  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • drowsiness
  • difficulty with coordination
  • headache
  • lightheadedness
  • sleepiness
  • nausea

Serious Side Effects

The risk of serious side effects increase when you take Halcion in a way not prescribed, including taking high doses or mixing it with other CNS depressants like alcohol or opioids.

These serious side effects may include:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • severe impairment
  • sleep walking
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • memory loss
  • overdose

For the elderly or older patients, doctors may prescribe lower doses of the medication in the beginning. Your doctor may reassess and change the recommended dose for you depending on the severity of your condition.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who develop a physical dependence to the drug may experience a number of serious withdrawal symptoms, including rebound insomnia, a condition in which a person experiences more severe insomnia than originally experienced.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • tremors
  • sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • seizures
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • trouble sleeping

Dangers Of Halcion Abuse

Halcion can lead to a number of dangers for those taking certain medications or those with specific medical conditions, especially when drug abuse occurs.

Sleep Disturbances

One of the dangers of taking triazolam is the sleep disturbances it can cause.

In fact, it has been reported that those who take this medication may sleepwalk to the extent that they may do things unconsciously, including:

  • make and eat food
  • have sex
  • sleep-drive
  • talk on the phone

Some who take triazolam may experience this and not remember the sleepwalking that occurred. In the mornings, they may not realize anything that happened the night before.

Polydrug Abuse

As a controlled substance with potential for abuse, Halcion may be diverted and mixed with other drugs for a stronger or more intense high. However, this can be dangerous and lead to adverse effects.

For instance, severe drug interactions may occur if you take Halcion with:

  • opioids
  • other benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
  • stimulants
  • antihistamines
  • over-the-counter drugs including supplements
  • antidepressants such. as nefazodone (Serzone)
  • HIV protease inhibitor medications such as ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra)
  • antifungal medications such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)

In addition to these medications, it’s important to not combine grapefruit juice with triazolam.

Worsened Medical Conditions

Those suffering from sleep apnea or other breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should notify their doctor of any health issues, as respiratory depression may more easily occur in those with breathing troubles.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid this drug, as it has the potential to pass to the child through breast milk. This can lead to your child having withdrawal symptoms or suffering an overdose.


Those who abuse triazolam or combine it with other medications may experience a life-threatening overdose.

Some of the symptoms of a triazolam overdose can include:

  • seizures
  • trouble breathing
  • unresponsiveness
  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • extreme drowsiness
  • coma

If you suspect an overdose, contact 911 immediately.

To learn about the substance use disorder treatment options administered by our trained healthcare professionals, please contact us today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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