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  • What Is Brotizolam? | Uses, Effects, & Abuse Potential

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    What Is Brotizolam? | Uses, Effects, & Abuse Potential

    Brotizolam, a highly potent benzodiazepine analogue, is sold under a variety of international brand names such as Lendormin. However, brotizolam is not approved for medical use in the United States. 

    This is likely due to the drug’s relatively high potential for abuse and the existence of other approved medications with similar properties and uses. 

    Brotizolam is approved for use in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Israel, Italy, Taiwan, and Japan under various brand names.

    Brotizolam Uses

    Brotizolam is a thienotriazolodiazepine, a type of benzodiazepine derivative or analog. This means that its molecular structure and effects are very similar to, but distinct from, those of full benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax).

    It is prescribed for the short-term treatment of severe insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep) and is recommended for a total length of use of only 2-4 weeks. 

    Brotizolam is also sometimes prescribed for occasional use by those with chronic insomnia or for pre-surgical sedation.

    Effects Of Brotizolam

    When consumed (usually through oral administration in tablet form immediately before sleep), the drug increases the action of GABAA receptors in the central nervous system. This triggers a number of effects related to CNS depression, and allows brotizolam to acts as a:

    • sedative-hypnotic (calming or sleep-inducing drugs)
    • anxiolytic (stress relieving drugs)
    • anticonvulsant (drugs that treat seizures)
    • muscle relaxant (drugs that relax muscle tension)

    Compared to other benzo drugs, brotizolam is most similar to the intermediate/short-acting benzodiazepines triazolam (Halcion), and midazolam (Versed), which are hypnotic drugs used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

    Half-Life

    Brotizolam has a half-life of around 4.5 hours. A single dose of the drug has effects that last for only a few hours, and the medication is effectively fully removed from the body in around one day. 

    This is advantageous, as it allows those who use brotizolam therapeutically to wake up without lingering effects like rebound insomnia.

    While the drug does generate active metabolites, the amounts and effects of these secondary substances are not generally significant.

    Side Effects Of Brotizolam

    Common side effects associated with this medication may include:

    • sleepiness
    • fatigue
    • clumsiness
    • impaired movement and motor coordination
    • headache
    • short-term memory loss
    • dizziness
    • slurred speech
    • confusion
    • disrupted sleep patterns

    These effects can sometimes persist, leading to next-day drowsiness and both physical and mental impairment that can make it risky to operate a vehicle or machinery.

    Additionally, less common and more severe side-effects may also occur, including:

    • low blood pressure
    • breathing problems (respiratory depression)
    • hallucinations
    • nausea and vomiting
    • palpitations
    • paradoxical reactions (agitation, aggression, anxiety, etc.)
    • dependence and withdrawal symptoms, if use continues after the recommended period

    Due to these risks (including the risk of abuse), brotizolam should be used with caution by older adults, pregnant women, children, and those with a history of drug abuse or psychiatric disorders.

    Abuse Potential Of Brotizolam

    Because brotizolam is not approved for medical use in the United States, any use of the drug within US territory is considered drug abuse. However, the drug is also considered to have a high potential for abuse in a more conventional sense.

    Brotizolam can be misused for the purpose of self-medication, with sleep deprived or anxious individuals taking it more often, for a longer period, or in higher doses than recommended. 

    Others may take it in high doses or mix it with other drugs recreationally to get high, or use it as a date rape drug similar to nitrazepam or flunitrazepam.

    Whatever the case, brotizolam can be extremely habit forming and is dangerous in cases of drug overdose.

    These risks are especially high if the drug is mixed with powerful stimulants to create a stimulant/depressant ‘speedball,’ or taken with CNS depressants like alcohol or opioids which can result in respiratory depression, coma, brain damage, and/or death.

    Symptoms Of Brotizolam Overdose

    The physical and mental signs that a person has overdosed on benzos, including brotizolam, may resemble those of severe alcohol intoxication. Common signs and symptoms may include:

    • drowsiness
    • unstable mental state
    • dizziness
    • slurred speech
    • memory loss
    • lack of muscle coordination
    • hallucinations
    • blurred vision
    • slow or shallow breathing
    • gasping or interrupted breathing
    • loss of consciousness or responsiveness

    If you suspect a drug overdose has occurred, you should immediately call your local emergency services by calling 911. 

    If you or a loved one struggle with benzodiazepine or prescription sedative abuse, we can help. To learn more, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) - Helping Patients Recognize and Avoid ‘Date Rape’ Drugs
    Drugs - Brotizolam. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic efficacy as a hypnotic
    National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) - BROTIZOLAM

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