A benzodiazepine compound with sedative and hypnotic properties.
Flunitrazepam, said to be the most widely prescribed sedative and hypnotic in Europe, although it is not licensed for sale in the U.S., has been the subject of increasing concern as illegal distribution and abuse of the drug have spread from southern U.S. states to other parts of this country. Abuse is particularly prevalent among high school and college youth. Used alone, flunitrazepam induces mild euphoria and sedation. It is often taken with other agents, for example to enhance a heroin high or to ease the experience of coming down from a cocaine or crack high. Flunitrazepam and alcohol have a synergistic effect, producing disinhibition and amnesia when taken together. For this reason the drug may be surreptitiously added to alcoholic drinks to facilitate date rape. Part of the popularity of the drug arises from its low cost and the availability of legally manufactured pure tablets. Flunitrazepam is marketed by Hoffman-La Roche under the brand name Rohypnol. Street names include “circles,” “Mexican Valium,” “la rocha,” “R2,” “rib,” “roaches,” “roachies,” “Roche,” “roofenol,” “roofies,” “rope,” “rophies,” and “ruffies.” Being under the influence of the drug is referred to as being “roached out.” The effects of flunitrazepam begin within 30 minutes after ingestion, peak within 2 hours, and may persist for 8 hours or more. Adverse effects include drowsiness, confusion, amnesia, paradoxic excitement or aggressiveness, visual disturbances, hypotension, gastrointestinal upset, and urinary retention. Lethal overdose is uncommon. Continued use results in physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms range from headache, muscle pain, restlessness, and confusion to loss of identity, hallucinations, delirium, convulsions, and cardiovascular collapse. Withdrawal seizures can occur a week or more after cessation of use. Phenobarbital has been used to ease medically supervised withdrawal. Tablets of Rohypnol currently produced by Hoffman-LaRoche dissolve slowly in beverages and release a bright blue color so as to render covert administration less feasible.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012