Etizolam, available under numerous brand names, is a derivative of thienodiazepine, essentially an analogue of benzodiazepine. It distinguishes itself by substituting the benzene ring with a thiophene ring and fusing a triazole ring, effectively categorizing it as a thienotriazolodiazepine.
Although categorized as a thienodiazepine, Etizolam is clinically treated as a benzodiazepine due to its mechanism of action via the benzodiazepine receptor, which directly interacts with GABAA allosteric modulator receptors.
Etizolam exhibits a range of properties, including anxiolysis, amnesic effects, anticonvulsant action, hypnotic qualities, sedation, and muscle relaxant capabilities.
This compound was patented in 1972 and received approval for medical use in 1983.
As of April 2021, the export of Etizolam has been prohibited in India.

IUPAC name
CAS Number40054-69-1 
PubChem CID3307
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)DTXSID0023030
ECHA InfoCard100.188.773
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass342.85 g·mol−1

Side effects

  1. Prolonged use may result in the occurrence of blepharospasms, particularly among female individuals.
  2. Doses exceeding 4 mg may induce anterograde amnesia.

In rare instances, the appearance of erythema annulare centrifugum skin lesions has been reported.

Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal:

Abrupt or swift discontinuation of etizolam, akin to benzodiazepines, can precipitate the onset of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which includes rebound insomnia. It is worth noting that neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a rare occurrence in benzodiazepine withdrawal, has been documented in a case of sudden etizolam withdrawal. This is particularly relevant due to etizolam’s comparatively short half-life in comparison to benzodiazepines such as diazepam, resulting in a more rapid reduction of drug levels in blood plasma.

In a study comparing the effectiveness of etizolam, alprazolam, and bromazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, all three drugs exhibited effectiveness over 2 weeks. Notably, etizolam’s effectiveness increased from 2 to 4 weeks. Administration of 0.5 mg etizolam twice daily for 3 weeks did not result in cognitive deficits when compared to a placebo.

When multiple doses of etizolam or lorazepam were administered to rat neurons, lorazepam led to the downregulation of alpha-1 benzodiazepine binding sites (indicative of tolerance and dependence). In contrast, etizolam caused an increase in alpha-2 benzodiazepine binding sites, signifying reverse tolerance to anti-anxiety effects. Tolerance to the anticonvulsant effects of lorazepam was observed, but no significant tolerance to the anticonvulsant effects of etizolam was detected. As a result, etizolam exhibits a reduced tendency to induce tolerance and dependence in comparison to traditional benzodiazepines. It is considered a possible anxiolytic choice with a reduced likelihood of producing tolerance and dependence following long-term treatment for anxiety and stress syndromes.


Etizolam, a derivative of thienodiazepine, is absorbed rather swiftly, with peak plasma levels attained within 30 minutes to 2 hours. It boasts potent hypnotic properties and is on par with other short-acting benzodiazepines. Etizolam functions as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor by binding to the receptor’s benzodiazepine site.

According to Italian prescribing information, etizolam belongs to a new class of diazepines known as thienotriazolodiazepines. This class is characterized by easy oxidation, rapid metabolism, and a lower risk of accumulation even after extended treatment. Etizolam’s anxiolytic effect is approximately 6-8 times greater than that of diazepam. It notably reduces the time taken to fall asleep, increases total sleep duration, and reduces the number of awakenings. While there are no significant changes in deep sleep, it may decrease REM sleep. In EEG tests involving healthy volunteers, etizolam exhibited characteristics akin to tricyclic antidepressants.

The primary metabolites of etizolam in humans are alpha-hydroxyetizolam and 8-hydroxyetizolam. Alpha-hydroxyetizolam is pharmacologically active and has a half-life of roughly 8.2 hours.


Itraconazole and fluvoxamine slow down the elimination rate of etizolam, leading to its accumulation and enhanced pharmacological effects. In contrast, carbamazepine accelerates etizolam metabolism, reducing its pharmacological effects.


Cases of intentional suicide by overdose involving etizolam in combination with GABA agonists have been reported. While etizolam has a lower LD50 than certain benzodiazepines, it still significantly exceeds the prescribed or recommended dose. Flumazenil, a GABA antagonist used to counter benzodiazepine overdoses, counteracts the effects of etizolam, much like with classical benzodiazepines such as diazepam and chlordiazepoxide. Etizolam overdose deaths are on the rise, with “street” etizolam being implicated in a significant number of drug-related deaths.

Society and Culture:

Brand Names:

Etilaam, Sedekopan, Etizest, Etizex, Pasaden, or Depas

Legal Status:

International drug control conventions: While it was initially suggested in 1990 that etizolam should not be subject to international control, this stance has shifted due to increased abuse. In December 2019, the World Health Organization recommended placing etizolam in Schedule 4 of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a recommendation that was enacted in March 2020.

Australia: Etizolam is not used medically but has been found in counterfeit Xanax pills.

Denmark: Etizolam is controlled in Denmark under the Danish Misuse of Drugs Act.

Germany: Although controlled in Germany since July 2013, it is not used medically.

Italy: Etizolam is a prescription-only medication used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and neurosis.

India: In India, it is a prescription-only medication used for anxiety disorders, sometimes in combination with other drugs like propranolol.

United Kingdom: Etizolam is classified as a Class C drug in the UK as of the May 2017 amendment to The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, alongside several other designer benzodiazepine drugs.

United States: Etizolam is not authorized by the FDA for medical use. As of March 2016, it is a controlled substance in various states and was placed under temporary Schedule I status by the DEA in 2023.


Etizolam is a substance at risk of misuse, with cases of dependence documented in the medical literature. Misuse and addiction have significantly increased since 1991, primarily due to varying accessibility and cultural popularity. Illicitly manufactured pills sold as Xanax or other benzodiazepines may often contain etizolam rather than their listed ingredient.


  • What is Etizolam?
  • Etizolam is a thienodiazepine derivative, often used as an anxiolytic or to manage anxiety and sleep disorders. It is similar in action to benzodiazepines but belongs to a distinct chemical class called thienotriazolodiazepines.
  • How does Etizolam work?
  • Etizolam functions as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor by targeting the receptor’s benzodiazepine site. This interaction contributes to its anxiolytic and sedative effects.
  • What are the common brand names for Etizolam?
  • Etizolam is marketed under various brand names, including Etilaam, Sedekopan, Etizest, Etizex, Pasadena, and Depas.
  • Is Etizolam legally available?
  • The legal status of Etizolam varies by country. In some places, it is available as a prescription-only medication, while in others, it is classified as a controlled substance. It is essential to check your local regulations.
  • What are the potential effects of Etizolam?
  • Etizolam possesses anxiolytic, amnesic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative, and muscle relaxant properties. These effects can vary depending on the dosage and individual factors.
  • Can Etizolam lead to dependence or tolerance?
  • While Etizolam shares similarities with benzodiazepines, some studies suggest it may have a reduced potential for inducing tolerance and dependence compared to traditional benzodiazepines.
  • What is the recommended dosage of Etizolam?
  • The appropriate dosage of Etizolam can vary based on an individual’s condition and response to the drug. It is crucial to follow medical advice and not exceed prescribed dosages.
  • Are there any potential side effects of Etizolam?
  • Common side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination. Rarely, skin lesions or more severe side effects can occur. Always consult a healthcare professional for guidance.
  • Can Etizolam be abused or misused?
  • Yes, Etizolam has been subject to misuse and abuse, leading to cases of dependence and addiction. It is crucial to use it as prescribed and under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
  • Is it safe to combine Etizolam with other substances or medications?
  • Combining Etizolam with other drugs or substances, including alcohol, can be dangerous and may lead to adverse effects or interactions. Always consult a healthcare professional before combining medications or substances.
  • Is Etizolam available over the counter (OTC)?
  • No, Etizolam typically requires a prescription for legal use. In many regions, it is not available over the counter.
  • Is Etizolam banned in any country?
  • The legal status of Etizolam varies by country. Some countries have banned or controlled its use due to concerns about misuse and abuse.
  • What is the future of Etizolam’s legal status?
  • The legal status of Etizolam may change over time. It’s essential to stay updated with local regulations and any updates from health authorities.


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