Can You Open Temazepam Capsules?

In our latest question and answer, our pharmacist discusses whether or not temazepam capsules can safely be opened and some recommendations on tapering strategies.

Question

I have been taking 15mg temazepam capsules for two years and I want to taper off the medication. Is it safe to divide the contents of the capsules equally into two to approximate half the 15mg dosage? Thank you.

Asked by Cecil On May 03, 2023

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published May 04, 2023
Last updated Jun 14, 2024

Key points

  • Temazepam capsules can be opened and the powder immediately consumed after mixing with a liquid or semi-solid food (such as applesauce).
  • It is generally not recommended to divide the powder from temazepam capsules and administer it at multiple times because it may lead to dosing inaccuracies.

Answer

Great question! It is possible to open temazepam (generic for Restoril) capsules and consume the drug powder. Most often this is accomplished by mixing the powder in a liquid or semi-solid food (like applesauce) and consuming immediately. This can represent an effective alternative dosing option for those with swallowing issues.

However, it generally would not be recommended for you to divide the contents of the capsules into two equal parts (to take at two separate times) as it may not be a safe and reliable way to reduce your dosage.

For one, doing so can introduce inconsistencies in dosage, especially if you are just 'eye-balling' the portions and not measuring out with the proper tools.

Additionally, there is no assurance from the manufacturer that the active drug is evenly distributed throughout the capsule, which can result in an inaccurate dose if you are taking only a portion at a time.

I recommend talking to your doctor about what your options are for tapering temazepam. As mentioned, dividing the powder in the capsules likely wouldn't be the recommendation for most people, and there are other options, including the fact that temazepam also comes in 7.5mg capsules.

Tapering Options For Temazepam

You stated you wanted to open temazepam capsules and divide the powder up to allow you to have more dosing flexibility when tapering the medication.

It certainly is true that for temazepam, it's important to taper off the medication gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms and other potential complications, especially if you have been taking it for a long time.

Stopping the medication abruptly can result in withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, agitation, headaches, and seizures.

Tapering involves slowly decreasing your dosage over time, which allows your body to adjust to the changes and minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Your healthcare provider will typically recommend a tapering schedule that gradually reduces your dosage over several weeks.

There is no 'one-size fits all' tapering regimen as they are highly individualized. However, a typical tapering schedule generally involves reducing the dosage by no more than 25% every week.

Temazepam is available in multiple different strengths which can help facilitate your taper regimen. It is available in:

  • 7.5mg capsules
  • 15mg capsules
  • 22.5mg capsules
  • 30mg capsules

Sometimes, in addition to adjusting your dose, tapering can involve separating administration times by longer and longer intervals.

There may be cases where your doctor does recommend opening the capsules and taking a certain amount of powder, but as I've written above, there are some concerns with that. Nevertheless, be sure to follow the tapering regimen you and your doctor decide is best for you.

Final Words

Thanks so much for reaching out to us and I hope you found this helpful!

References

  • Temazepam Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Tapering Patients Off of Benzodiazepines, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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