What are side effects of benzodiazepines?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Side effects may include headaches, vision problems, dry mouth, swollen tongue, a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth, vivid dreams, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, and shortness of breath. It may also include flushing, nausea, constipation, urinary retention or incontinence, and weight loss or gain. Skin-related side effects may include hives, rash, itching, sensitivity to light, and swelling. Women may have irregular periods. Men may develop breasts.

Central nervous system side effects usually occur only in the first few days of treatment, and then get better. The side effects may include drowsiness, confusion, weakness, dizziness, and feeling faint. Benzodiazepines can cause serious changes in behavior and thinking, such as bizarre or uninhibited behavior, agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, panic, delirium, and sleepwalking. There may be no memory of these afterwards. Benzodiazepines can make it dangerous for a person to drive or to use machinery the next day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.