Etizolam is a thienodiazepine that is similar to benzodiazepines in structure.
Some short-term effects to expect are drowsiness, shaking, and changes to libido. Long-term effects may include withdrawal symptoms after prolonged use, as mentioned by the World Health Organization.
Buying benzodiazepines, or similar drugs, without a prescription is unlawful and could result in legal consequences, such as fines or jail time. It is also risky. In March 2018, BBC News reported that teenagers trying to buying Xanax illicitly wound up with etizolam instead.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) explains that etizolam is legal in Japan, Italy, and India. Its use in the United States and Europe is not legal. Most American or European consumers encounter etizolam when trying to buy other benzodiazepines illicitly.
The BBC reports that drug dealers often dye etizolam tablets and repackage them as benzodiazepines such as Xanax. Per the DEA, etizolam is found as a powder, tablet, or on blotter paper.
In countries where its use is legal, etizolam is available in tablets containing 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1 mg of the medication.
Etizolam became available in Japan in 1983 as a treatment for anxiety or sleep disorders.
As stated by the DEA, etizolam is a sedative, muscle relaxant, antipsychotic, and anticonvulsant. This medication is between six and 10 times stronger than other benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium).
In September 2017, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) reported that etizolam is known to depress the central nervous system (CNS). This relieves feelings of anxiety. Studies in Italy show that etizolam is efficient in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It works on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors that can cause you to feel more relaxed, but it may make you sleepy, have slurred speech, and lose your coordination as a result.
The most dangerous effect of long-term etizolam use is a dependency. As explained by WHO, dependence on etizolam is rare, but it is possible.
Research on the long-term effects of etizolam is scarce, but research on benzodiazepines can provide us with a good guess on what happens. In November 2010, Psychology Today reported that concerns about long-term use of benzodiazepines surfaced as early as the 1970s.
A few possible consequences of long-term use of these medications are:
Psychology Today also mentions that benzodiazepines have the potential for misuse and addiction.
In November 2014, the Indian Journal of Pharmacology published a case study about a patient who was addicted to etizolam. The case study highlights that etizolam is linked to the development of skin lesions and eye twitching.
Etizolam use is associated with uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. You may need help from a physician who can help you taper from the medication.
If you have been using etizolam for recreational or other reasons, it is possible to taper your dose as you would a benzodiazepine. The World Health Organization cites literature about cases in which patients have tapered off etizolam by decreasing it in gradual increments.
USDOJ warns that not all of the etizolam’s effects or consequences are reversible.
As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), repeated use of a substance can trigger changes in the brain. Regular use of any substance often results in rewiring the brain’s reward system to trigger addiction, a chronic disorder that can only be managed with proper treatment.
A person that is addicted to etizolam or other substances will experience changes in the brain’s reward system. Your reward system consists of the parts of the brain that govern impulse control, planning, and goal-setting.
In September 2014, Harvard Medical School stated that prolonged use of benzodiazepines could increase your risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Etizolam’s similarity to benzodiazepines means you can expect this to be a risk.
Patients who stop using etizolam or any other benzodiazepine within the first three months of use are at a decreased risk of brain damage or misuse. Other risk factors for irreversible brain damage include your age and the dosage level.
Etizolam is not legal to import, own, or use in the United States. You could face legal consequences for possessing it.
(November 2015). Etizolam (INN) Pre-Review Report. World Health Organization. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.7_Etizolam_PreRev.pdf
(March 2018). Xanax drug sold on social media found to be fake. BBC News. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-43543519
(October 2018). Etizolam. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/etizolam.pdf
(May 2019). Etizolam. Drug Bank. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB09166
(November 2017). Etizolam Critical Review Report. World Health Organization. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CriticalReview_Etizolam.pdf?ua=1
(November 2014). A case of etizolam dependence. Indian Journal of Pharmacology. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264086/
(September 2017). Four Indicted for Roles in Selling Illegal Depressant Etizolam over the Internet. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdpa/pr/four-indicted-roles-selling-illegal-depressant-etizolam-over-internet
(November 2010). Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines: The Troubling Facts, Risks, and History of Minor Tranquilizers. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/side-effects/201011/brain-damage-benzodiazepines-the-troubling-facts-risks-and-history-minor
(March 2017). Health Consequences of Drug Misuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/health-consequences-drug-misuse
(September 2014). Benzodiazepine use may raise risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved May 2019 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/benzodiazepine-use-may-raise-risk-alzheimers-disease-201409107397