Flunitrazolam is a chemical of the benzodiazepine class. Flunitrazolam is named for the fluorine, bromine, and triazole substitutions on its core benzodiazepine skeleton (FLUorine-NITro-AZOLe-AM). Flunitrazolam is a member of the benzodiazepine class as it contains a 1,4 diazepine ring fused to a substituted benzene ring. Bromine is bound to this bicyclic structure at R7. Additionally, a fluorine substituted phenyl ring is bound to this structure at R5.
Flunitrazolam also contains a methylated triazole ring fused to and incorporating R1 and R2 of its diazepine ring. Flunitrazolam belongs to a class of benzodiazepines containing this fused triazole ring, called triazolobenzodiazepines, distinguished by the suffix “-zolam”.
Benzodiazepines produce a variety of effects by binding to the benzodiazepine receptor site and magnifying the efficiency and effects of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) by acting on its receptors. As this site is the most prolific inhibitory receptor set within the brain, its modulation results in the sedating (or calming effects) of flunitrazolam on the nervous system.
The anticonvulsant properties of benzodiazepines may be, in part or entirely, due to binding to voltage-dependent sodium channels rather than benzodiazepine receptors.
Experimental results for Flunitrazolam often yield findings of sedation, disinhibition, dream potentiation, residual sleepiness, thought deceleration, and muscle relaxation.
- Sedation – In terms of energy level alterations, this drug has the potential to be extremely sedating and often results in an overwhelmingly lethargic state. At higher levels, this causes users to suddenly feel as if they are extremely sleep deprived and have not slept for days, forcing them to sit down and generally feel as if they are constantly on the verge of passing out instead of engaging in physical activities. This sense of sleep deprivation increases proportional to dosage and eventually becomes powerful enough to force a person into complete unconsciousness.
- Motor control loss
- Respiratory depression
- Muscle relaxation
- increased anxiety
- violent behavior
- loss of impulse control
- irritability and suicidal behavior sometimes occur (although they are rare in the general population, with an incidence rate below 1%).
These paradoxical effects occur with greater frequency in recreational abusers, individuals with mental disorders, children, and patients on high-dosage regimes.