Halcion (Triazolam)

Halcion is the brand name for the generic drug Triazolam, a benzodiazepine derivative.

Triazolam is prescribed to help with severe insomnia and treat jet lag. The drug has a half-life of only 1.5 to 5.5 hours, making it a potent but short-acting benzodiazepine. 

Halcion is a Central Nervous System depressant and sedative of the triazolobenzodiazepine class.

Triazolam was patented in 1970 and became available in the United States in 1982. By 2017, it was one of the most popularly prescribed drugs in the US, with over one million prescriptions being issued.

Halcion works on the brain’s GABA receptors, increasing the release of GABA (a calming neurotransmitter) into the brain. This calms brain overactivity and promotes sleepiness. It also acts as an anticonvulsant, managing mental health disorders related to brain overactivity.

UK law on Halcion (Triazolam)

The British government banned the sale of Halcion in 1991. Previously, it was the world’s most widely prescribed sleeping pill

Whilst Halcion is still legal in the US, the UK banned the drug after finding it showed a much higher incidence of depression and memory loss than other drugs of the same class. There was also widespread concern about its potency and its potential for abuse.

The FDA determined that the US could still prescribe Halcion. The advice for prescribing is that the drug is safe when taken at the lowest dose possible and when taken exactly as prescribed. 

Other countries that followed suit in banning the sale of Triazolam are Brazil, Norway, Argentina, and Denmark.

Triazolam remains an illegal drug in the UK.

effects of halcion sleeping pills

Brand names for Triazolam 

The most common brand name for Triazolam is Halcion in English-speaking countries. Other brand names for Triazolam include Hypam and Trilam.

The Effects of Triazolam

Triazolam affects everyone differently. However, some common adverse effects have been reported. 

Common effects of Halcion include: 

  • Sedation 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Relaxation of muscles
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed
  • Somnolence (excessive daytime sleepiness/drowsiness) 
  • Impaired coordination 

Less common effects of Halcion:

  • Euphoria (feeling high and a false sense of well-being) 
  • Lingering lethargy
  • Muscle cramps
  • Memory impairment and memory loss
  • Disturbances to vision 
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Tachycardia 

Rare side effects of Halcion: 

  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Tingling, burning or numbness of the extremities and legs
  • Alteration in taste 

Although it is a short-acting benzodiazepine to be taken at night, commonly, people feel some residual effects the following day. Whilst these effects usually wear off as the day goes on, they are likely to be more pronounced in the morning. 

Residual effects of Halcion include:

  • Daytime sedation
  • Amnesia
  • Depression
  • Reduced cognitive function
  • Impaired psychomotor function 
  • Lethargy

Some residual effects may impair your ability to drive safely. Halcion may also affect your judgment and balance, making you more prone to falls and accidents.

Zolpidem and Halcion

Zolpidem (Ambien) and Halcion (Triazolam) treat insomnia. However, the two drugs work differently and belong to different drug classes. Whilst Halcion is a benzodiazepine, Zolpedem is a Z drug and is a hypnotic sedative.

Halcion strength

Where Halcion is still legitimately prescribed, it is often used in dentistry to calm patients and as a pre-med to an operation. Halcion won’t knock you out. Instead, it will make you feel calm and sleepy. It is used for conscious sedation. Halcion’s amnesic properties may mean you will not recall events under its influence.

Stopping Halcion safely

If you are physically dependent on Halcion, a complete medical detox is the safest way to stop. A full medical detox involves approved and prescribed pharmaceutical medications, enabling your brain and body to calibrate safely and comfortably. You should not stop taking Halcion suddenly if you have been taking it for a while.

Can Halcion cause addiction?

As a benzodiazepine, tolerance and dependence on Halcion can form within as little as two weeks of daily use. Halcion is very addictive and can cause addiction if abused. This is why it is only recommended for very short-term treatment.

Where can I get Triazolam?

Triazolam is a banned drug in the UK but is still legal in the US. This means a person may import or order the drug from the dark web or abroad. However, to possess or sell Halcion in the UK is still illegal.