Can You Use Benzodiazepines For Pain?

In our latest question and answer, we discuss the use of benzodiazepines, such as temazepam, for pain.

Question

I have, quite by chance, "discovered" that Temazepam seems to ease the discomfort and pain of my Epididymitis/Testicle cyst however I am at loss to explain why. Is there a pharmacological reason or is it 'just' psychosomatic?

Asked by The Blocked Dwarf On Dec 10, 2017

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Dec 11, 2017

There is some controversy regarding whether benzodiazepines, which includes temazepam, can be beneficial for use in pain management. Many studies have shown that they may offer some benefit, independent of their effect sedative effect. Benzodiazepines have known muscle relaxant effects (i.e. antispasmodic effects) and may also be beneficial for nerve type pain. In addition, relieving anxiety and certain symptoms of depression may all result in reduced complaints of pain.


Having said all that, some studies show the opposite effect, with benzodiazepines being associated with a higher sensitivity to pain. 


While it can be difficult to discern whether or not benzodiazepines can be beneficial for pain, it would be very rare that they would be prescribed for that purpose. Symptoms of pain that require prescriptions are often treated with opioid medications, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can cause serious adverse effects and is potentially dangerous. Taking opioids with benzodiazepines has the potential to cause cognitive impairment and severe respiratory depression. In fact, over 30% of overdose deaths are due to the combination of benzodiazepines and opioids. Therefore, benzodiazpines certainly would not be considered a first-line add on for the treatment of pain.


So it certainly is not out of the question that temazepam is helping your with the pain you are experiencing, as studies have shown some potential benefit. It is just unlikely that benzodiazepines would be prescribed for the sole indication of pain.

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Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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