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Clinical data
Trade namesEtilaam, Etizest
  • N
Routes of
Oral, sublingual, rectal
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • UK: Unscheduled
  • US: Unscheduled; not FDA approved
Pharmacokinetic data
Elimination half-life3.4 hours (main metabolite is 8.2 hours)
CAS Number
PubChem CID
E number{{#property:P628}}
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass342.07
3D model (JSmol)
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Etizolam (marketed under the brand name Etilaam, Etizest, Etidev,Etizola, Sedekopan, Pasaden or Depas) is a benzodiazepine analog.[1] The etizolam molecule differs from a benzodiazepine in that the benzene ring has been replaced by a thiophene ring, making the drug a thienodiazepine.[2] It possesses amnesic, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant properties.[3]



  • Anxiety disorders associated with depression  : 1 mg two to three times a day (maximum 3 mg per day)
  • For panic disorder (associated with agoraphobia): 0.5 mg two times per day (maximum 1 mg per day)
  • For insomnia: 1–2 mg once daily before bedtime[6]

A 1 mg dose of etizolam is approximately equivalent to a 10 mg dose of diazepam, see List of benzodiazepines.

Side effects

Very Rare

Tolerance, dependence and withdrawal

Abrupt or rapid withdrawal from etizolam, as with benzodiazepines, may result in the appearance of the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, including rebound insomnia.[9] Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a rare event in benzodiazepine withdrawal, has been documented in a case of abrupt withdrawal from etizolam.[10]

In a study that compared the effectiveness of etizolam, alprazolam, and bromazepam for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, all three drugs retained their effectiveness over 2 weeks, but etizolam became more effective from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, a type of reverse tolerance.[11] Administering .5 mg etizolam twice daily did not induce cognitive deficits over 3 weeks when compared to placebo.[12]

When multiple doses of etizolam, or lorazepam, were administered to rat neurons, lorazepam caused downregulation of alpha-1 benzodiazepine binding sites (tolerance/dependence), while etizolam caused an increase in alpha-2 benzodiazepine binding sites (reverse tolerance to anti-anxiety effects).[13] Tolerance to the anticonvulsant effects of lorazepam were observed, but no significant tolerance to the anticonvulsant effects of etizolam were observed.[13] Etizolam therefore has a reduced liability to induce tolerance, and dependence, compared with classical benzodiazepines.[13]

Contraindications and special caution

Etizolam is metabolised by the liver and is contraindicated in those with severely impaired hepatic function. It may impair the ability to drive and operate machinery so caution should be applied. Elderly patients should start on a lower dose as they are more susceptible to the sedative effects of etizolam. It is not recommended to be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding.[6]

Etizolam can increase the sedative and antidepressant actions of other medication such as neuroleptics, analgesics, anaesthetics, antiepileptics, sedatives and first-generation antihistamines. Co-administration with these medications should be avoided unless instructed by a medical professional. Alcohol should also be avoided.[6]

Drugs inhibiting the enzymes CYP2C19 and CYP3A4, such as fluvoxamine, should not be taken concurrently as etizolam can increase the plasma levels of these enzymes.[6]


Etizolam, a thienodiazepine derivative, is absorbed fairly rapidly, with peak plasma levels achieved between 30 minutes and 2 hours. It has a mean elimination half life of about 3.5 hours.[14] Etizolam possesses potent hypnotic properties,[15] and is comparable with other short-acting benzodiazepines.[14] Etizolam acts as a full agonist at the benzodiazepine receptor to produce its range of therapeutic and adverse effects.[16] Similar to other benzodiazepines, etizolam binds non-selectively to benzodiazepine receptor subtypes.[dubious ][17]

In addition, etizolam, unlike most other benzodiazepines (some of which can increase levels of estradiol), has prolactogenic effects, leading to an increase in blood levels of prolactin.[18]

According to the Italian P.I. sheet[citation needed], etizolam belongs to a new class of diazepines, thienotriazolodiazepines. This new class is easily oxidized, rapidly metabolized, and has a lower risk of accumulation, even after prolonged treatment. Etizolam has an anxiolytic action about 6 times greater than that of diazepam. Etizolam produces, especially at higher dosages, a reduction in time taken to fall asleep, an increase in total sleep time, and a reduction in the number of awakenings. During tests, there were not substantial changes in deep sleep; however, it may reduce REM sleep. In EEG tests of healthy volunteers, etizolam showed some characteristics of tricyclic antidepressants.[5]

Legal status

United States

Etizolam is not authorized for medical use in the U.S. However, it currently remains unscheduled and is legal for research purposes. As it is a thienodiazepine, an analog of benzodiazepines, which are Schedule IV drug under Federal Scheduling Guidelines, it does not fall under the Federal Analog Act, which only applies to Schedule I and II drugs.[19]

Etizolam is a controlled substance in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas[20] and Mississippi.[21]

United Kingdom

Unlike other thienodiazepines such as brotizolam and clotiazepam, etizolam is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or licensed as a medicine in the United Kingdom.[22]


Etizolam was controlled in Germany in July 2013.[23]


Etizolam may be scheduled under the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction and the State Sanitary Inspection -Article 27c


Itraconazole and fluvoxamine slow down the rate of elimination of etizolam, leading to accumulation of etizolam, therefore increasing its pharmacological effects.[24][25] Carbamazepine speeds up the metabolism of etizolam, resulting in reduced pharmacological effects.[26]

Etizolam, similarly to other GABAergic agonists including the benzodiazepines has a strong synergistic effect with ethanol and the consequences of co-ingestion of the two drugs can drastically compound the side effects of either drug.Template:Medcn This can result in (among other effects) anterograde amnesia (blackouts) and severe respiratory depression which in extreme cases can lead to death.Template:Medcn


Cases of intentional suicide by overdose using etizolam have been reported.[27] Although etizolam has a lower LD50 than certain benzodiazepines, the LD50 is still far beyond the prescribed or recommended dose. Many lethal etizolam overdoses were due to drug interactions.[citation needed]


Etizolam is a drug of potential abuse. However, conflicting reports from the World Health Organization, made public in 1991, dispute the abuse claims.[28]

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, benzodiazepines — either alone or mixed with other drugs — were involved in nearly 30 percent of fatal overdoses in the United States in 2010. A Japanese study published in Forensic Science International revealed that metabolic traces of etizolam were detected in two people who died of lethal drug overdoses. Fast-acting benzodiazepines may produce side effects very quickly, especially if the user is taking other drugs.

See also


  1. DE 2229845 
  2. Niwa T, Shiraga T, Ishii I, Kagayama A, Takagi A (September 2005). "Contribution of human hepatic cytochrome p450 isoforms to the metabolism of psychotropic drugs" (PDF). Biol. Pharm. Bull. 28 (9): 1711–6. doi:10.1248/bpb.28.1711. PMID 16141545.
  3. Mandrioli R, Mercolini L, Raggi MA (October 2008). "Benzodiazepine metabolism: an analytical perspective". Curr. Drug Metab. 9 (8): 827–44. doi:10.2174/138920008786049258. PMID 18855614.
  4. Lopedota A, Cutrignelli A, Trapani A; et al. (May 2007). "Effects of different cyclodextrins on the morphology, loading and release properties of poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide)-microparticles containing the hypnotic agent etizolam". J Microencapsul. 24 (3): 214–24. doi:10.1080/02652040601058152. PMID 17454433.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Depas". Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Pharmaceuticals, Intas. "Etilaam - .25mg, .50mg,.1mg". Etilaam's prescribing info sheet for doctors in India. Intas Pharmaceuticals.
  7. Wakakura M, Tsubouchi T, Inouye J (March 2004). "Etizolam and benzodiazepine induced blepharospasm". J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatr. 75 (3): 506–7. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.019869. PMC 1738986. PMID 14966178.
  8. Kuroda K, Yabunami H, Hisanaga Y (January 2002). "Etizolam-induced superficial erythema annulare centrifugum". Clin. Exp. Dermatol. 27 (1): 34–6. doi:10.1046/j.0307-6938.2001.00943.x. PMID 11952667.
  9. Hirase M, Ishida T, Kamei C (November 2008). "Rebound insomnia induced by abrupt withdrawal of hypnotics in sleep-disturbed rats". Eur. J. Pharmacol. 597 (1–3): 46–50. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.08.024. PMID 18789918.
  10. Kawajiri M, Ohyagi Y, Furuya H; et al. (February 2002). "[A patient with Parkinson's disease complicated by hypothyroidism who developed malignant syndrome after discontinuation of etizolam]". Rinsho Shinkeigaku (in Japanese). 42 (2): 136–9. PMID 12424963.
  11. Bertolino, A; Mastucci, E; Porro, V; Corfiati, L; Palermo, M; Ecari, U; Ceccarelli, G (1989). "Etizolam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A controlled clinical trial". The Journal of international medical research. 17 (5): 455–60. PMID 2572494.
  12. De Candia, MP; Di Sciascio, G; Durbano, F; Mencacci, C; Rubiera, M; Aguglia, E; Garavini, A; Bersani, G; Di Sotto, A; Placidi, G; Cesana, BM (2009). "Effects of treatment with etizolam 0.5 mg BID on cognitive performance: A 3-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-treatment, three-period, noninferiority crossover study in patients with anxiety disorder". Clinical therapeutics. 31 (12): 2851–9. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2009.12.010. PMID 20110024.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Sanna, E; Busonero, F; Talani, G; Mostallino, MC; Mura, ML; Pisu, MG; MacIocco, E; Serra, M; Biggio, G (2005). "Low tolerance and dependence liabilities of etizolam: Molecular, functional, and pharmacological correlates". European Journal of Pharmacology. 519 (1–2): 31–42. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.06.047. PMID 16107249.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Fracasso C, Confalonieri S, Garattini S, Caccia S (1991). "Single and multiple dose pharmacokinetics of etizolam in healthy subjects". Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 40 (2): 181–5. PMID 2065698.
  15. Nakamura J, Mukasa H (December 1992). "Effects of thienodiazepine derivatives, etizolam and clotiazepam on the appearance of Fm theta". Jpn. J. Psychiatry Neurol. 46 (4): 927–31. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1819.1992.tb02862.x. PMID 1363923.
  16. Yakushiji T, Fukuda T, Oyama Y, Akaike N (November 1989). "Effects of benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine compounds on the GABA-induced response in frog isolated sensory neurones". Br. J. Pharmacol. 98 (3): 735–40. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.1989.tb14600.x. PMC 1854765. PMID 2574062.
  17. Ozawa M, Nakada Y, Sugimachi K; et al. (March 1994). "Pharmacological characterization of the novel anxiolytic beta-carboline abecarnil in rodents and primates". Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 64 (3): 179–87. doi:10.1254/jjp.64.179. PMID 7912751.
  18. Kaneda Y (2000). "Short Communication: Prolactogenic effects of etizolam". Neuro Endocrinol. Lett. 21 (6): 475–476. PMID 11335869.
  23. and
  24. Araki K, Yasui-Furukori N, Fukasawa T; et al. (August 2004). "Inhibition of the metabolism of etizolam by itraconazole in humans: evidence for the involvement of CYP3A4 in etizolam metabolism". Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 60 (6): 427–30. doi:10.1007/s00228-004-0789-1. PMID 15232663.
  25. Suzuki Y, Kawashima Y, Shioiri T, Someya T (December 2004). "Effects of concomitant fluvoxamine on the plasma concentration of etizolam in Japanese psychiatric patients: wide interindividual variation in the drug interaction". Ther Drug Monit. 26 (6): 638–42. doi:10.1097/00007691-200412000-00009. PMID 15570188.
  26. Kondo S, Fukasawa T, Yasui-Furukori N; et al. (May 2005). "Induction of the metabolism of etizolam by carbamazepine in humans". Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 61 (3): 185–8. doi:10.1007/s00228-005-0904-y. PMID 15776275.
  27. Nakamae T, Shinozuka T, Sasaki C; et al. (November 2008). "Case report: Etizolam and its major metabolites in two unnatural death cases". Forensic Sci. Int. 182 (1–3): e1–6. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.08.012. PMID 18976871.
  28. WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

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