A benzodiazepine compound with sedative and hypnotic properties.F., 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 states to other parts of this country. Abuse is particularly prevalent among high school and college youth. Used alone, f. induces mild euphoria and sedation. It is often taken with other agents, for example, to enhance a heroin high or to ease coming down from a cocaine or crack high. F. 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 legitimately manufactured, pure tablets. F. 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 f. 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 has been 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. In 1997, in response to concerns about the use of f. in date rape, Hoffman-LaRoche reformulated the tablets so that they dissolve more slowly in liquids and release a bright blue color to render detection more likely.

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flu·ni·traz·e·pam .flü-nə-'traz-ə-.pam, -.nī- n a powerful benzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic drug C16H12FN3O3 that is widely prescribed for medical use in Europe, Australia, and the Republic of South Africa but is not licensed for use in the U.S. and that is a frequent illicit drug of abuse see rohypnol

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flu·ni·traz·e·pam (floo″nĭ-trazґə-pam) a short-acting benzodiazepine with properties similar to those of diazepam, administered orally as a hypnotic and intramuscularly as an induction agent in anesthesia. It is not used legally in the United States.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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