Chlormethiazole

Swallow the capsules whole with a drink of water. Do not chew them.

Clomethiazole will make you sleepy. If you still feel sleepy the next day, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol.

The most common side-effects are a runny or blocked nose, and headache. These should soon pass.

About clomethiazole

Type of medicine Hypnotic and sedative
Used for Insomnia, restlessness, or agitation, particularly in elderly people
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Available as Capsules

Insomnia, or poor sleep, is fairly common. If you have problems sleeping, it may mean that you have difficulty getting off to sleep, or you may wake up for long periods during the night, or you may wake up too early in the morning. 'Sleeping pills' like clomethiazole are considered a last resort, but are sometimes prescribed for a short period of time to help with a particularly bad spell of insomnia.

Clomethiazole is also prescribed in certain circumstances to help calm elderly people who are particularly restless or agitated. It is also used within specialist dependency units to relieve the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Before taking clomethiazole

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking clomethiazole it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows: 

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a heart condition, or liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have breathing problems or sleep apnoea (a problem where you stop breathing for short periods at night).
  • If you have ever had a drug addiction, or a personality disorder.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to take clomethiazole

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about clomethiazole and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it. The most common side-effects are listed for you in the table below.
  • Take the capsules exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your dose will be on the label of the pack to remind you.
    • If you have been prescribed clomethiazole for insomnia, your doctor may either recommend that you take one or two capsules each evening, or only on certain days of the week. Take the capsules just before you go to bed.
    • If you have been prescribed clomethiazole to help calm restlessness or agitation, your doctor is likely to recommend that you take one capsule three times daily, for a short period of time.
    • If you have been prescribed clomethiazole to help reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, your doctor or clinic will tell you how to take it.
  • Swallow the capsules whole with a drink of water. Do not chew them.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • The capsules will make you sleepy. If you still feel sleepy the next day, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol.
  • Clomethiazole is only recommended for a short period of time. This is because your body can become dependent on it after a while. This can cause problems when you then stop taking it.

Can clomethiazole cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common clomethiazole side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
A runny or blocked nose, sore eyes These can occur soon after taking a dose, but usually quickly pass

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store clomethiazole

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.