Protonitazene is a benzimidazole-derived compound recognized for its potent opioid properties. Since 2019, it has gained prominence as a designer drug available on the internet, being detected in multiple European nations, Canada, the USA, and Australia. However, it has also been associated with numerous instances of drug overdoses, leading to its classification as a Schedule I substance in the United States.
Initially formulated by a Swiss pharmaceutical company during the 1950s as a prospective morphine substitute, Protonitazene never saw widespread adoption due to its substantial adverse effects.

IUPAC name
CAS Number95958-84-2
PubChem CID156589001
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass410.518 g·mol−1


1. What is Protonitazene?

Protonitazene is a potent opioid compound belonging to the benzimidazole class. It has garnered attention as a designer drug available for purchase on the internet.

2. How and where is Protonitazene sold?

Protonitazene is primarily sold through online sources, making it accessible to a global audience. It has been identified in various countries, including Europe, Canada, the USA, and Australia.

3. What are the potential risks of Protonitazene use?

Protonitazene has been linked to numerous cases of drug overdoses. Its opioid effects can be hazardous when used without proper medical supervision.

4. Why is Protonitazene classified as a Schedule I drug in the USA?

In the United States, Protonitazene has been categorized as a Schedule I substance. This classification is due to its potential for abuse and the significant risks associated with its use.

5. Was Protonitazene ever developed for legitimate medical use?

Yes, Protonitazene was initially developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical company in the 1950s. It was created as an alternative to morphine but was never widely adopted for medical use due to its severe side effects.

6. What should individuals know about the risks and effects of Protonitazene before considering its use?

Before considering the use of Protonitazene or any similar substances, it is essential to be aware of its potential for addiction, overdose, and harmful side effects. It is strongly advised to seek guidance from healthcare professionals and avoid using such substances without a valid medical prescription.

7. Are there any legal consequences associated with Protonitazene use or possession?

The legal consequences of Protonitazene use and possession may vary from one jurisdiction to another. In some countries, it is considered illegal, and individuals found with the substance may face legal ramifications. It is essential to understand the specific laws in your area regarding Protonitazene.

8. Is Protonitazene a safe or approved medication for any medical conditions?

Protonitazene is not approved as a safe medication for any medical conditions. It is not intended for legitimate medical use and is considered a controlled substance.

9. What measures should be taken to address the risks of Protonitazene misuse?

Addressing the risks associated with Protonitazene misuse involves education, harm reduction strategies, and stricter regulation of its availability. Communities, healthcare providers, and policymakers play a critical role in raising awareness about the dangers of opioid compounds like Protonitazene.

10. How can individuals seek help for Protonitazene-related issues?

Individuals facing issues related to Protonitazene use, addiction, or overdose should seek immediate medical attention and assistance from healthcare professionals. Various addiction treatment programs and support services are available to help those in need.


  1. Edinoff AN, Martinez Garza D, Vining SP, Vasterling ME, Jackson ED, Murnane KS, Kaye AM, Fair RN, Torres YJ, Badr AE, Cornett EM, Kaye AD, published an article titled “New Synthetic Opioids: Clinical Considerations and Dangers” in April 2023. This article discusses the clinical considerations and risks associated with new synthetic opioids, emphasizing their dangers. It covers a range of topics related to these substances. [DOI: 10.1007/s40122-023-00481-6] [PMID: 36826742]
  2. In August 2022, Schumann JL, Syrjanen R, Alford K, Mashetty S, Castle JW, Rotella J, et al. published a paper titled “Intoxications in an Australian Emergency Department Involving ‘Nitazene’ Benzylbenzimidazole Synthetic Opioids (Etodesnitazene, Butonitazene, and Protonitazene).” This paper investigates cases of intoxication involving nitazene benzylbenzimidazole synthetic opioids in an Australian emergency department. [DOI: 10.1093/jat/bkac062] [PMID: 35983900]
  3. Kanamori T, Okada Y, Segawa H, Yamamuro T, Kuwayama K, Tsujikawa K, Iwata YT, in November 2022, published a paper titled “Analysis of highly potent synthetic opioid nitazene analogs and their positional isomers.” This article delves into the analysis of potent synthetic opioid nitazene analogs and their positional isomers, providing valuable insights into their characteristics. [DOI: 10.1002/dta.3415] [PMID: 36437623]
  4. Papsun DM, Krotulski AJ, Logan BK, in December 2022, published a paper titled “Proliferation of Novel Synthetic Opioids in Postmortem Investigations After Core-Structure Scheduling for Fentanyl-Related Substances.” The article discusses the proliferation of new synthetic opioids in postmortem investigations, particularly after core-structure scheduling for fentanyl-related substances. [DOI: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000787] [PMID: 36103391]
  5. Walton SE, Krotulski AJ, Logan BK, published a paper in March 2022 titled “A Forward-Thinking Approach to Addressing the New Synthetic Opioid 2-Benzylbenzimidazole Nitazene Analogs by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry (LC-QQQ-MS).” This paper presents an innovative approach to addressing new synthetic opioid nitazene analogs using advanced mass spectrometry techniques. [DOI: 10.1093/jat/bkab117] [PMID: 34792157]
  6. On April 12, 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration published a document in the Federal Register titled “21 CFR Part 1308. [Docket No. DEA–900] Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Butonitazene, Etodesnitazene, Flunitazene, Metodesnitazene, Metonitazene, N-Pyrrolidino etonitazene, and Protonitazene in Schedule I.” This document outlines the temporary placement of various synthetic opioids in Schedule I of controlled substances in the United States.
  7. On November 23, 2022, NRK reported the death of a 20-year-old individual due to the consumption of a new, life-threatening substance. Protonitazene, a synthetic opioid developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical company in the 1950s, is mentioned in the report. It was originally created as an alternative to morphine but was never adopted due to severe side effects. The substance is highlighted for its potential dangers.

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