Halcion: Calm or confusion?

Triazolam (Halcion) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine that appeared on the American market thanks to the company Upjohn in 1983, mostly as a sleeping pill. By the early 1980s, Halcion was providing peace of mind to millions of Americans and became the world’s best-selling soporific. The use of funds by President George W. Bush when he could not fall asleep is evidenced by documents. Therefore, Upjohn crowned Halcion with his laurels as an unusually profitable drug. But the press leaked a series of reports about the negative effects of the drug. These were reports of patients who suffered from the development of depression and paranoia caused by the drug. It also described the case of a woman from Los Angeles who shot her mother eight times while under her influence. This case attracted public attention, perhaps primarily because the punishment for murder was removed from carrying (“the drug made me do it”), and she received a suspended sentence after filing a lawsuit with Upjohn. Under public pressure, Halcion was removed from the UK and the Netherlands.

Is Halcion really unhealthy? Psychiatric side effects, partly attributed to this drug, are in fact very rarely detected in other benzodiazepines, and then in the chronic use of large doses. Chronic use of benzodiazepines is a rather dubious medical practice, especially when large doses are used. A number of studies have been carried out that compare the side effects of Halcion with those of other benzodiazepines, with very contradictory results. One way or another, it is impossible not to remember that it is used by millions of people around the world without any consequences. Perhaps the key point is that although all benzodiazenins, including Halcion, are safer than their predecessors, abuse of them can lead to the same undesirable effects as other depressants.

Side Effects of Benzodiazepines

Just like other depressants, the undesirable effects of benzodiazepines are lethargy, drowsiness, and immobility. Benzodiazepines, taken alone, rarely produce such effects, but in combination with alcohol and other depressants (as they usually are accepted) side effects appear.
Recently it turned out that benzodiazepines can affect memory. This phenomenon is called anterograde amnesia. When a person sleeping under the influence of a benzodiazepine is awakened by a phone call, he may not remember a call or a call after a while. The next morning after taking the drug, his concentration in the body may still be large, and people can quickly forget that he ate for breakfast or that he read in the morning newspaper. These are examples of benzodiazepine-induced amnesia, and it is observed in a particularly strong form when taking such popular benzodiazepines as triosalam and alprazolam (Halcion and Hapah). Not only benzodiazepines have this effect.

The drug may be present in the body in sufficient quantities in the morning so that the patient can forget what he or she ate for breakfast or what was read in the morning newspaper. These examples of benzodiazepine memory loss are evidence that there are common problems with especially popular benzodiazepines – triozolam (Halcion) and alprozalam (Hapah). These types of effects are not limited to benzodiazepines. Alcohol intake is known to cause even more memory loss. Barbiturates and methaqualone also provoke memory lapses, and such effects are obviously characteristic of all depressants.

Other negative effects of prolonged use of benzodiazepines, despite the high frequency of use, are rarely seen. Nevertheless, there is great interest in recently discovered non-benzodiazepine anxiety medications, especially those with few adverse effects, such as buspirone.

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