French anti-anxiety pill available here

People's Pharmacy

July 23, 1996|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Recently my wife traveled to Europe on a non-stop flight of over eight hours. She became very ill from jet lag, could not sleep and developed nausea.

Her friends took her to a French doctor who gave her a drug made by Wyeth labeled Temesta lorazepam 2.5 mg. He said it would make her sleep and ease the nausea, and indeed it worked magnificently.

On arriving home my wife once again developed all the symptoms she experienced in France. Her doctor here prescribed lorazepam 0.5 mg, but it did nothing for her. The doctor and pharmacist never saw anything like the pills she got in France, so we have no idea how to get more. She had some left over, and when she took it, the nausea disappeared and she slept like a baby.

Please help so I can get some sleep! How can I find out if these pills are available in the United States?

You are surely not the only person who has hunted high and low for a mysterious wonder drug acquired abroad. In this case, differences in brand name and dose created the confusion, but the drug is available in the United States.

Lorazepam, best known in this country under the brand name Ativan, is an anti-anxiety medicine. The very same medicine is sold in a slightly higher dose in France as the sleeping pill Temesta.

Although your wife's doctor could prescribe lorazepam in the same dose she took in France, we would discourage regular use. Jet lag should be a short-term problem, but taking this kind of sleeping pill night after night could lead to dependence and further sleeping problems.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Dr. Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist and nutrition expert.

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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