Temazepam vs. Xanax: Similarities, Differences, Potency for Sleep

Temazepam and Xanax are two potent benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety and insomnia. In rare cases of severe insomnia, doctors might prescribe them to help with sleeplessness. Although temazepam and Xanax are short-acting benzodiazepines, off-label use is common in the medical field.

If your doctor determines either of these two drugs is the best option, all other avenues have likely been exhausted, including the use of Z-drugs, such as Ambien or Lunesta. It’s important to bear in mind that benzos are fraught with dangerous side effects, including dependence, addiction, and withdrawal.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights recent research that says 12.5 percent of the 102,000 adults who participated in a National Surveys on Drug Use and Health study have used benzodiazepines, equating to roughly 30.5 million people. The statistics found that 2.1 percent misused them at least once, and 0.2 percent of them met the criteria for benzodiazepine use disorder. Of benzodiazepine users, 17.1 percent admitted to misusing them, and less than 2 percent have benzodiazepine use disorders.

The use of benzodiazepines like temazepam and Xanax are associated with higher rates of mental health disorders, emergency room visits, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. Scientists report that adults who use these medications must be assessed at baseline regularly for various psychiatric and medical conditions. These findings not only show the significance of using these drugs as directed but that they shouldn’t be shared with friends or family.

Despite the findings, if your doctor determines temazepam or Xanax are the right choices for a sleep disorder like insomnia, it’s important to know the similarities, differences, and potency. Below, we’ll delve into these differences and help you make an informed decision.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine medication available only by prescription. It’s used to treat panic disorder and anxiety. It helps stimulate the neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which allows an individual to relax, thus relieving their stress or helping them fall asleep.

As mentioned above, Xanax is an extremely addictive drug that should be used with caution. Misusing the drug can lead to addiction, overdose, or death, and it should only be used by the individual it was prescribed. Xanax can slow down or stop breathing, especially when it’s misused with alcohol, opioids, or other depressants. If you regularly drink alcohol, speak with your doctor before taking this medication.

You can become dependent on Xanax in as little as two weeks. If you abruptly stop the medication or cut your dose in half, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve only been using Xanax for several weeks, these likely won’t be severe. However, the longer you take this drug, the higher the risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzos vary in their half-lives, which means how quickly they’re eliminated from the body, which affects how long you’ll feel the medication’s effects.

Due to the risk of becoming tolerant to Xanax, your doctor will only prescribe it for a short period. Xanax is not the best drug to treat sleep disorders for this reason.

Xanax’s Half-Life

If you’ve recently started using Xanax or your doctor gave you the option between temazepam and Xanax, you might wonder how long the effects will last in your body, the half-life, and if you’re in danger if you decide to stop taking it. As your doctor probably explained, Xanax must be taken orally, and it’ll be absorbed into the bloodstream. Using it in any other fashion is considered misuse and will put you on the fast track to dependence. The effects will kick in within an hour, and medication reaches peak concentration in one to two hours following ingestion.

The half-life of Xanax, which is the drug it takes for the drug to be eliminated from your body, is around 11 hours in a healthy adult. What this means is, in a healthy adult, it’ll take 11 hours to eliminate half the dose of Xanax from your body. However, everyone metabolizes drugs differently, so the half-life will differ from one person to the next. Studies have shown that the half-life of alprazolam is anywhere from 6.3 to 26.9 hours.

Xanax Potency

Xanax is considered the most potent benzodiazepine available to treat anxiety disorders or sleep conditions. However, it’s been listed as one of the top 10 drugs responsible for overdose deaths as a result. Since Xanax produces euphoria, many people will use it more than prescribed or take it without a prescription. Due to its potency, this can be fatal.

What Is Temazepam?

Temazepam, also known by its brand name Restoril, is prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia. It can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. For those who wake up several times throughout the night, this drug is designed to keep you asleep to get a better night’s rest. Like Xanax, it belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs and acts on your brain to produce calming side effects. However, the use of this medication is limited due to its potency and ability to cause dependence. Most doctors will only prescribe it for one to two weeks or less. If your insomnia persists, speak with your doctor about other options.

In some cases, temazepam can cause temporary short-term memory loss. If you experience this side effect, you must report it to your doctor right away. To reduce the odds of this occurring, do not take a dose unless you plan on getting a full night’s sleep. If you wake up before seven or eight hours, it could cause memory loss.

Temazepam’s Half-Life

According to one study, 30 mg (milligrams) is the standard dose to be used before bedtime. A dose of 30 mg produces peak concentrations of the drug within three hours after it’s ingested orally and has a half-life of 10 hours to 15 hours. Although temazepam is absorbed slower and metabolized differently than Xanax, it’s still considered a short-acting benzo.

Temazepam Potency

Temazepam is considered a medium-potent benzodiazepine, not nearly as strong as Xanax. For example, half a milligram of Xanax is a sufficient starting dose, whereas 30 mg is a starting dose for temazepam. However, don’t let it fool you, as it can still produce a deadly overdose if too much is taken.

Temazepam vs. Xanax

We’ll explain the differences and similarities between temazepam and Xanax below.


Temazepam is a short-term option to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but it should never be used to replace good sleep habits.


  • Helps you fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer
  • Can help reduce anxiety
  • Won’t make you drowsy if you get a full night’s rest


  • Habit-forming, meaning you’ll become reliant on temazepam to sleep
  • Your body adjusts to the drug’s presence, meaning it won’t work well long-term
  • You can’t take it if you’re over age 65
  • It can’t be used by pregnant women because it can harm the baby
  • Use of more than two to four weeks can lead to withdrawal


Xanax is ideal for those who endure panic attacks or have short-term anxiety. However, compared to other drugs, it will cause withdrawal symptoms and have more interactions with other medications.


  • Manages anxiety associated with depression very well
  • Works rapidly
  • Generic options are available


  • Xanax use can lead to dizziness, drowsiness, memory problems, and confusion
  • Xanax is habit-forming when used for prolonged periods
  • Xanax is more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms when compared to other medications in this category
  • Xanax is a bad choice if you have liver problems because the liver processes the drug

Side Effects of Temazepam and Xanax

The most common side effects of both drugs include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory problems
  • Speech issues
  • Changes in weight
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Addiction
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures

If you’ve been prescribed one of these drugs and developed a dependence, which spiraled into a full-blown addiction, help is available for you. We understand that living with addiction is challenging and you may not know where to turn. However, you don’t have to live this way another minute. There are alternative means of treating insomnia and anxiety other than medication, and it might be life-changing for you.

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