Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol, roofies)

  • fast-acting and powerful sedative/hypnotic drug used primarily to treat insomnia and settle people down prior to giving them general anaesthesia
  • is a benzodiazepine, meaning that it acts on GABA-A receptors, which are prevalent throughout the brain, to enhance the flow of chloride ions into neurons, resulting in a generalized depression of neural activity that results in sedation (feeling dopey) progressing to hypnosis (sleep)
    • is about 7-10 times more potent than diazepam (Valium), the archetypal benzodiazepine
    • all benzos also work as anxiolytic and anticonvulsant agents, as well as skeletal muscle relaxants
  • widely used recreationally to enhance the effects of alcohol and other drugs, although some people get high off of it alone (mechanism is unknown) or use it as a 'downer' to deal with the side effects of stimulants ('uppers')
  • has been used as a date rape drug and to facilitate robberies (it causes anterograde amnesia in addition to sedation, so the victim often remembers nothing) and may precipitate violent behaviour in certain people
  • long-term use can result in psychological and physical dependence (i.e. you can get addicted to it)
Druid H, Holmgren P, Ahlner J. Flunitrazepam: an evaluation of use, abuse and toxicity. Forensic Sci Int. 2001 Nov 1;122(2-3):136-41.

4 chemically inspired comments:

Sis Rubz said...

Drugs are substances given to humans or animals for the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of illness. Only people try to abuse its good purpose.

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CND said...

Hey, glad to get the information out there. Thanks for the comment.

Alexis said...

Some anesthesiology researchers might suggest that the amneisa aspect of most anesthetics is more important than their analgesic ability. Probably more than some researchers, actually. I think that's the dark side of unconsciousness.

CND said...

So, we potentially experience pain during a surgery (while under general anesthesia), but forget about it entirely post-op?

I wonder how the unconscious brain responds to such pain and if it has any impact on recovery after anesthesia.