Sean Jackson
Author: Sean Jackson Medical Reviewer: Morgan Blair Last updated:

Quazepam, or Doral as it’s more commonly known, is a benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia. Though it is very effective, taking Doral requires guidance from your doctor, as it is a habit-forming drug that can lead to addiction, overdose, and in some cases, death.[1]

Quazepam brand names

Quazepam is available under the brand name Doral.

What is quazepam prescribed for?

Doral is used to treat insomnia. Its sedative effects help some people fall asleep faster. Additionally, it enables you to stay asleep during the night by reducing the number of times you wake up. In some cases, Doral might also help you sleep for more extended periods.[1]

Like other benzodiazepines, Doral has anxiolytic effects. As such, it might be prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. However, Doral binds to specific receptors in the brain associated with sleep. For this reason, the FDA only approves it for treating insomnia in adults.[2]

Doral a high risk for abuse and is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a class IV controlled substance. Given its habit-forming nature, Doral is only prescribed for short-term use (e.g., 7-10 days).[2]

How does quazepam work?

Doral is a 14-benzodiazepine class central nervous system agent. Though the precise manner in which it works is not known, it’s believed that the drug works on stereo-specific receptors at multiple sites in the central nervous system.[3]

As explained earlier, this action produces sedative effects that induce sleep more quickly, help sustain rest with fewer periods of wakefulness, and result in longer periods of sleep.

How is quazepam usually taken?

Doral tablets are taken orally. Tablets come in 7.5 mg tablets. It’s recommended that adult patients begin with a 15 mg dosage, then reduce the dosage to 7.5 mg as necessary.[3]

However, elderly patients might not tolerate a 15 mg dosage. It’s recommended to begin with a 7.5 mg dose and increase it to 15 mg after one or two nights if the desired effect isn’t achieved with the lower dosage.

A single dose should be taken at night, right before bedtime. Doral should not be taken with food, nor should it be taken immediately after eating. Likewise, Doral should only be taken when you have seven or more hours available to sleep.[4]

How long does quazepam stay in your system?

Doral is quickly absorbed – it has an absorption half-life of roughly 30 minutes. A 15 mg dose offers a peak plasma concentration approximately two hours after ingestion. The effects of this drug last for about seven to eight hours.[3]

You can expect quazepam to stay in your system for at least several days. The mean elimination half-life is about 39-73 hours, depending on the plasma metabolite. After five days, 31 percent of Doral appears in the urine, and 23 percent in feces.[3]

Quazepam side effects

Like any medication, Doral has both mild and severe side effects. Each person’s experience taking Doral is different. However, you might experience some side effects while taking this drug.

Mild side effects of Doral

  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime drowsiness (which is by far the most common side effect of this drug)[2]

These side effects are common and typically do not require medical attention.[1][2] However, even if you experience mild side effects, it’s important to tell your doctor, as the symptoms might indicate a more serious situation.

Adverse effects of Doral

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hives
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Swelling of the throat, tongue, lips, or face
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory problems
  • Worsening depression
  • Confusion
  • Agitation or aggression
  • Respiratory depression
  • Suicidal ideation

Additionally, some people have experienced worsening insomnia while taking Doral and exhibited behaviors that are out of the norm (e.g., lowered inhibition, impulsivity).[1][2]

The side effects listed above are considered serious. Immediate medical advice or attention is required if any of these symptoms appear.

General side effects of benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines typically cause further side effects apart from the specific Doral side effects listed above. These include:[2]

  • Slurred speech
  • Jaundice
  • Changes in libido
  • Urinary retention or incontinence
  • Dysarthria (difficulty speaking)
  • Dystonia (involuntary muscle movements)
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Irritability

In some cases, benzodiazepines like Doral cause paradoxical reactions. For example, while Doral is specifically prescribed to induce sleep, you might experience sleep disturbances, agitation, or stimulation. Increased muscle spasticity, hallucinations, and other random behavioral effects may also occur. 

If any of the above side effects appear, immediately call your doctor.

Quazepam precautions

Before taking Doral, disclosing any medications you’re taking is essential, especially if those medications make you sleepy. Also, discuss any over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and other substances you ingest.

Furthermore, it would be best to tell your doctor about any physical or mental health conditions you have. This includes telling your doctor:[4]

  • If you’re allergic to benzodiazepines, other drugs, foods, or any other substances
  • If you have a history of addiction
  • If you have an underlying mental health condition
  • If you have breathing problems
  • If you have sleep apnea
  • If you use herbal products

Refrain from driving a motor vehicle while on Doral, as it could cause excessive sleepiness, impaired coordination, or both. Balance problems, especially in older patients, are common.[4] Take care when standing up, walking, and performing other movements to minimize the risk of falling.

Extra precautions are necessary if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Doral poses risks to the fetus, and it can be passed through breast milk from mother to child as well.[4]

Only take Doral as prescribed by your doctor – don’t take more or less of the drug, and only take it for the period of time outlined by your physician. It’s also necessary to tell all your healthcare providers that you’re taking Doral to minimize the risk of drug-drug interactions, such as those listed below. Always read the medication guides on the packaging.

Quazepam interactions

Doral has serious interactions with opioids and causes a greater risk of breathing problems. The administration of Doral and opioid-based medications should be strictly controlled by a physician, which may include limiting the dosage and duration of use of Doral to avoid serious interactions.[3]

Doral should not be taken with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants (e.g., anticonvulsants, psychotropic medications, ethanol, or antihistamines) as they can have a combined depressive CNS effect.[2] Again, your doctor will adjust the dosage and duration of Doral and other medications to avoid additive depressant effects.

Other interactions may occur. Keep all your healthcare providers abreast of any substances you’ve taken in the past or are currently taking. Don’t take any new medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, and so forth before talking with your doctor. If you have accidentally taking a dangerous drug combination, seek emergency treatment.

Quazepam storage

The FDA recommends that Doral be stored at a controlled room temperature from 68-77ºF (20-25ºC).[2] Store the drug in an airtight container away from sources of heat and moisture. Also, store it out of reach and out of sight of children and pets.[5]

Proper storage of this drug is paramount since it’s a controlled substance and highly habit-forming. If Doral is taken improperly, overdose or death could result.

If you suspect that someone has taken Doral, call poison control or 911 immediately. If your tablets are damaged or old, contact your pharmacist or medical doctor before taking a dose. New tablets might be required.

What to do if you overdose on quazepam

Since Doral is a controlled substance, an overdose could be extremely dangerous. Overdose symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, and fainting. In some instances, a Doral overdose could lead to a coma. If you overdose and don’t seek help, it could be fatal, particularly if you combine Doral with alcohol, opioids, or other medications that slow your breathing or cause drowsiness.[1]

If you overdose, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911. Do the same if you suspect a friend or family member has overdosed on Doral.

Frequently asked questions about quazepam

What does Quazepam look like?

Doral is a light orange tablet with white speckles. The tablet is capsule-shaped and unscored, with 7.5 stamped on one side and DORAL stamped on the other side.[2]

  1. Kaiser Permanente. (2016, September 28). Quazepam. Retrieved January 31, 2023, fromhttps://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=d00917a1&secId=d00917a1-Header
  2. Federal Drug Administration. (2009, September 1). Doral quazepam tablets, USP. Retrieved January 31, 2023, fromhttps://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/018708s018lbl.pdf
  3. National Library of Medicine. (2023, January 5). Doral – quazepam tablet. Retrieved January 31, 2023, fromhttps://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=9727e8b4-14f1-451d-9630-84eabc772e42#section-12.1
  4. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2020, October 29). Quazepam. Retrieved January 31, 2023, fromhttps://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/medications/quazepam
  5. Cigna. (n.d.). Quazepam. Retrieved January 31, 2023, fromhttps://www.cigna.com/knowledge-center/hw/medications/quazepam-d00917a1
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Sean Jackson
Author Sean Jackson Writer

Sean Jackson is a medical writer with 25+ years of experience, holding a B.A. degree from the University of Nottingham.

Published: Feb 23rd 2023, Last edited: Nov 10th 2023

Morgan Blair
Medical Reviewer Morgan Blair MA, LPCC

Morgan Blair is a licensed therapist, writer and medical reviewer, holding a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Northwestern University.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Feb 23rd 2023