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Triazolam vs. Lorazepam

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to go over a couple of medications, triazolam and lorazepam. You'll learn about their major similarities as well as some of their many differences.

Triazolam vs. Lorazepam

Having trouble staying or falling asleep? We all do from time to time but if it becomes so serious or prolonged that it impacts your daily life, you might have insomnia. There are many drugs which are used to treat insomnia and two of them are known as triazolam and lorazepam. Let's compare and contrast some of their many facets in this lesson.

Names, Classification, Pharmacology & Uses

In the U.S., triazolam is better known by its brand name of Halcion while lorazepam is the generic version of Ativan.

Both of these drugs are classified as benzodiazepines. They work by helping to initiate a sequence of events that leads to the hyperpolarization of neurons (nerve cells). This means the nerve cells become less excitable and are more 'relaxed'.

This is why both of these medications can be used to treat insomnia, difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Lorazepam has other uses, however, including being used for the treatment of anxiety, status epilepticus (a prolonged and severe seizure), and for preoperative anxiety and sedation.

Potential complications of insomnia.
Potential complications of insomnia.

Dosage Forms, Precautions, & Adverse Reactions

Triazolam can be given using oral tablets. Lorazepam, however, can be administered in more than one manner. It can be given as a tablet, as an oral liquid, and as an injection into a vein or muscle.

But regardless of what form they come in, neither medication should be taken if a person has a known hypersensitivity (allergy) to the medication, another benzodiazepine, or any other ingredient in the dosage form they are taking. It's also advised that neither medication be taken with opioids, as this may lead to respiratory depression and death.

Some additional specific precautions include the following:

  • For triazolam, concurrent therapy with medications that inhibit an enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A is a contraindication. These medications include the likes of nefazodone, itraconazole, and ketoconazole.
  • For lorazepam, people with acute narrow-angle glaucoma, sleep apnea, or severe respiratory depression shouldn't be given this medication. This medication shouldn't be injected into an artery and it shouldn't be given to premature infants either.

Because these medications are of the same class and they are used for a similar purpose (insomnia), their adverse effects also overlap quite a bit. Despite overlapping, the risk of various adverse reactions isn't always the same. For example, both medications might cause drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness but triazolam is more likely to do so.

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