This sheet talks about exposure to flurazepam in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.

What is flurazepam?

Flurazepam is a medication that has been used to treat insomnia (having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep). Flurazepam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. MotherToBaby has a general fact sheet on benzodiazepines at: https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/benzodiazepines-pregnancy/pdf/. Flurazepam is sold under the brand name Dalmane®.

I take flurazepam. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant?

Studies have not looked at whether taking flurazepam could make it harder to get pregnant.

Should I stop taking flurazepam once I find out that I am pregnant?

Talk with your healthcare providers before making changes to how you take this medication. If you take this medication regularly and then suddenly stop taking it, you could have withdrawal symptoms. We don’t know what effects withdrawal might have on a pregnancy. Your healthcare providers can help with slowly stopping this medication if you plan to stop using flurazepam during a pregnancy.

Does taking flurazepam increase the chance for miscarriage? 

Miscarriage can occur in any pregnancy. Studies have not been done to see if flurazepam could increase the chance for a miscarriage.

Does taking flurazepam increase the chance of having a baby with a birth defect?

In every pregnancy, a woman starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This is called her background risk. Flurazepam has not been studied among women for use in the first trimester. Experimental animal studies did not find a higher chance for birth defects with exposure to flurazepam.

Could flurazepam cause other pregnancy complications?

Yes. If a woman is taking a benzodiazepine near the time of delivery, then a newborn might have withdrawal symptoms, which are treatable. If flurazepam is used at the end of pregnancy, the baby can be monitored for “floppy infant syndrome” (poor muscle tone) and difficulty feeding. Not every baby exposed to a benzodiazepine will have withdrawal symptoms.

Will taking flurazepam during pregnancy affect my baby’s behavior or cause learning problems?

There is not enough information to know how flurazepam use in a pregnancy might affect a child’s behavior or development. There are no studies in humans. In one small animal study (6 animals) flurazepam exposure in pregnancy was associated with some behavioral differences in the offspring.

Can I breastfeed my baby if I take flurazepam?

Flurazepam has not been well studied for use while breastfeeding. There is one case report from a woman who was taking flurazepam along with other medications during breastfeeding and reported that her infant was very sleepy. This case report does not tell us if the flurazepam, the combination of medications, or another reason caused the baby to be too sleepy. However, since flurazepam stays in the body for a long time, talk with your healthcare provider to see if another, better studied medication would work for you while you are breastfeeding. Talk with your healthcare providers about all your breastfeeding questions.

If a man takes flurazepam, could it affect his fertility (ability to get partner pregnant) or increase the chance of birth defects?

Flurazepam has not been studied for use in men who are trying to get a partner pregnant. In general, exposures that fathers have are unlikely to increase risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet Paternal Exposures and Pregnancy at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/paternal-exposures-pregnancy/pdf/.

Selected References

  • Banerjee U. 1975. Conditioned learning in young rats born of drug-addicted parents and raised on addictive drugs. Psychopharmacologia 41:113-6.
  • Gentile, S. 2015. Pharmacological management of borderline personality disorder in a pregnant woman with a previous history of alcohol addiction: A case report. Clin Drug Investig; 35(11):761-763.
  • Irikura T, et al. 1977. Teratological study on flurazepam free base in mice and rats. Oyo Yakuri 14:659-67.
  • Kargas GA, et al. 1985. Perinatal mortality due to interaction of diphenhydramine and flurazepam. N Eng J Med 313:1417-8.
  • Kelly LE, et al. 2012. Neonatal benzodiazepines exposure during breastfeeding. J Pediatr. 161:448-51.
  • Noda K, et al. 1977. Teratological study on flurazepam free base in rabbits. Oyo Yakuri 14:801-4.