Flunitrazepam

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Flunitrazepam (pronounced /ˌfluːnɨˈtræzɨpæm/) is marketed as a potent hypnotic and powerful sedative, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, amnestic, and skeletal muscle relaxant drug [1] most commonly known as Rohypnol. A short-intermediate acting benzodiazepine derivative, flunitrazepam is prescribed for the treatment of severe insomnia, marketed by Roche.

The prescription of flunitrazepam as a hypnotic is generally intended to be for short-term treatment of chronic or severe insomniacs that are not responsive to other hypnotics, especially in inpatients. It is considered to be one of the most effective benzodiazepine hypnotics on a dose basis. Just as with other hypnotics, flunitrazepam should only be used on a short-term basis or in those with chronic insomnia on an occasional basis.[2]

Flunitrazepam is classed as a nitro-benzodiazepine. It is the fluorinated methylamino derivative of nitrazepam. Other nitro-benzodiazepines include nitrazepam – the parent compound – and clonazepam, the chlorinated derivative.[3]

Though flunitrazepam is often cited as a date rape drug because of its high potency, strong effects and the ability to cause strong amnesia during its duration of action, investigations into its actual use as a date rape drug have contradicted popular belief. According to research conducted by Michael Robertson from the San Diego Medical Examiner's office and Dr. Mahmoud El Sohly of El Sohly Laboratories, test results indicated that flunitrazepam was only used in around 1% of reported date rapes according to Robertson and 0.33% according to urine lab tests done by El Sohly.[4]

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