Triazolam (Halcion) vs Xanax (Alprazolam) – Uses, Side Effects, Differences


It is the generic name of the brand name of a drug called Halcion, which is used to treat insomnia. It works by changing the chemicals in the brain which may be unbalanced and cause insomnia.

This medicine was first patented in 1970 and, in 1982, it went on sale in the US. It is produced by Pfizer and UpJohn.


It is typically used to treat short-term insomnia. Also, it can be taken for seizures, anxiety, and convulsions as well as to reduce dental anxiety.


This drug comes in a tablet form and should be taken once daily by mouth at night just before bedtime (0.25 mg). The maximum dose is 0.5 mg per day.

Important note – this drug is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia – typically for 7 to 10 days. If you use for more than 14 days, the drug’s effect on total wake time is considerably decreased. Also, it is not meant to be used by children.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Halcion

Common side effects may include:

Rare side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • burning in the eyes;
  • loss of balance;
  • vision problems;
  • staggering walk;
  • confusion;
  • rigid muscles;
  • problems with urination;
  • nausea;
  • slurred speech;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • clay-colored stools;
  • feeling short of breath;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • hallucinations;
  • pounding heartbeats;
  • chest pain;
  • feelings of extreme sadness or happiness;
  • anxiety;
  • agitation.

Before using this medicine, tell your healthcare specialist if you have, or have ever had:

  • seizures;
  • allergies to any medications;
  • depression;
  • porphyria (abnormalities in the chemical steps which lead to heme production);
  • myasthenia gravis (weakness of any of the muscles under your voluntary control);
  • suicidal thoughts;
  • glaucoma (an eye condition);
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • sleep apnea;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • emphysema;
  • chronic bronchitis.

It is not safe to use this drug during pregnancy since it could harm an unborn baby. Moreover, drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine can notably increase the risk of overdose and dependence.

This dependency can happen within just 14 days of the first dose. Signs that you may have an addiction include:

  • needing more of this drug to feel its effects;
  • ignoring important obligations;
  • cravings for the drug;
  • a lot of time spent recovering from its effects;
  • unsuccessful attempts to quit.

When a dependent individual stops using this drug, withdrawal symptoms occur and may include:

  • nausea;
  • tremors;
  • panicky feelings during waking hours;
  • hearing things which are not really there;
  • waking up in the middle of the night;
  • trouble getting to sleep;
  • muscle pain.


It is a brand name for a medication called alprazolam. This medicine belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It works by increasing the amount of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a neurotransmitter in the brain which promotes a relaxed feeling and calmness.

In the United States, more than 54 million prescriptions are written for this drug every year, making it the most prescribed psychiatric medication.


It is typically prescribed to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Additionally, it can be used to treat:

  • agoraphobia (fear of open spaces);
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • premenstrual syndrome;
  • depression.


For adults, the initial dose is 0.25–0.5mg taken 3 times per day. The maximum dose per day is 4 mg.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Alprazolam

Common side effects may include:

  • irritability;
  • light-headedness;
  • increased salivation;
  • depression;
  • lowered blood pressure;
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth;
  • tiredness;
  • difficulty concentrating.

Rare side effects may include:

  • depressed mood;
  • tremor;
  • thoughts of suicide;
  • chest pain;
  • confusion;
  • abnormal heartbeat;
  • seeing or hearing things that aren’t real;
  • urinating less than usual;
  • seizures;
  • yellowing of the skin;
  • uncontrolled muscle movements.

Before taking this drug, tell your healthcare professional if you have:

  • suicidal thoughts;
  • a history of seizures;
  • kidney or liver problems;
  • depression;
  • a history of drug abuse;
  • thoughts about hurting yourself;
  • asthma.

Do not consume any alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since it increases the risk of life-threatening side effects. Because it may negatively affect the unborn baby, this medicine should be avoided by pregnant women.

Triazolam vs Xanax – Which Is Better For Sleep?

Triazolam is a hypnotic medication and a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs. It has a quick onset action (about 15 to 30 minutes), which will help the user to sleep faster than most sleeping pills.

It has a short mean plasma half-life reported to be of 1.5 to 5.5 hours. Half-life is longer in seniors due to the lower liver oxidizing capacity. However, after 14 days of continuous nightly use, the medication’s effect on total wake time is considerably decreased.

Xanax also belongs to the benzodiazepine family. It is available in a few forms, like – a liquid, tablets, extended-release tablets, and disintegrating tablets.

It will take up to two hours after taking this drug to reach maximum blood level. Smoking tobacco will decrease the absorption of this drug. One major side effect of benzodiazepines is that they reduce the duration of deep sleep, that is required for a person to feel refreshed the next day. Moreover, taken at night, it can lead to next-day sedation and drowsiness.

In conclusion, Halcion is more efficient and safer than Alprazolam but only if it’s used for a short amount of time.

10 Natural Remedies That May Help You Sleep Without Side Effects

#1 Physical exercise

According to research, regular moderate physical activity helps maintain better sleep function and overall health.

#2 Lavender Essential Oil

College students who inhaled a lavender essential oil before bed had a better nighttime sleep and more daytime energy, according to a 2016 study issued in the journal Explore.

#3 Sleep In Total Darkness

This will help boost melatonin production and is one of the most effective natural sleep remedies.

#4 Meditation

As per a 2009 study, regular meditators slept better and longer due to the deep relaxation powers of the practice.

#5 Cherry Juice

It may improve melatonin levels, help with insomnia, and reduce inflammation to promote restful sleep.

#6 Avoid Smoking

Smoking tobacco exacerbates sleep apnea and asthma, making it difficult to get restful sleep. Also, smokers have a 400 percent increased risk to not feel as well rested after a full night’s sleep than nonsmokers.

#7 Valerian Root

It is one of the most effective natural supplements for managing insomnia and anxiety.

#8 Hops

They have sedative properties which are helpful for anxiety and insomnia. Take around 70 mg before going to bed.

#9 Yoga

The practice of yoga relaxes the mind and body, making it ideally primed for sleep. It is recommended to choose gentle yoga, not vigorous power yoga, that could energize you instead.

#10 Magnesium Rich Foods

Higher magnesium levels can help induce a deeper sleep. Foods high in magnesium include – broccoli, turnip greens, navy beans, spinach, apricots, Swiss chard, chickpeas, plantains, red kidney beans, lentils, jackfruit, durian, avocados, bananas, passion fruit, and tamarinds.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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