Etizolam (also known by the trade names Etilaam, Etizest, among many others) is a synthetic, fast-acting depressant substance of the thienodiazepine chemical class that produces benzodiazepine-like anxiety suppressing, disinhibiting, muscle relaxing, sedating, and memory suppressing effects when administered. Etizolam is commonly administered orally and sublingually due to the efficiency of these routes.
Etizolam is not commonly prescribed and is not recognized as a controlled substance in many parts of the world, which has led to its rise as a popular research chemical substitute for pharmaceutical benzodiazepines, typically those that are sought after for their recreational effects. It is commonly found in pellet or pill form, laid on a blotter sheet, or as a powder.
Anecdotal reports suggest that in terms of its relative potency, 1 mg of etizolam is approximately equivalent to 0.5 mg of alprazolam (common trade name "Xanax"), 0.5 mg of clonazepam (common trade name "Klonopin"), or 10 mg of diazepam (common trade name "Valium"). It is often compared to a less potent and sedating version of alprazolam in terms of the speed of its onset, total duration, and recreational potential.
Users should note that that as with benzodiazepines, the sudden discontinuation of thienodiazepines can be potentially dangerous or even life-threatening for individuals who have been using the substance regularly for extended periods of time, as it can result in fatal seizures. As a result, individuals who find themselves physically dependent on this substance are highly advised to taper their dose by gradually lowering the amount taken each day over a prolonged period of time instead of stopping their intake abruptly.
Due to the high dependence-forming and addiction potential that this substance shares with members of the closely related benzodiazepine class, as well as its alcohol-like ability to induce dangerous disinhibitory black-out states, it is highly advised to use proper harm reduction practices if choosing to use this substance.
Etizolam is a structural relative of benzodiazepines, whereby the benzene ring has been replaced by a thiophene ring, classifying it as a thienodiazepine. Thiophene is a five membered aromatic ring with one sulfur atom. Etizolam contains a thiophene ring fused to a diazepine ring, which is a seven membered ring with the two nitrogen constituents located at R1 and R4. This forms the thienodiazepine core of etizolam. An ethyl chain is bound to this bicyclic structure at R7. Additionally, a R2' chlorine-substituted phenyl ring is bound to this structure at R5.
Etizolam also contains a methylated triazole ring fused to and incorporating R1 and R2 of its diazepine ring. Etizolam shares this fused triazole ring substitution with certain benzodiazepine drugs, called triazolobenzodiazepines, distinguished by the suffix "-zolam".
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Thienodiazepines produce a variety of effects by binding to the benzodiazepine receptor site and magnifying the efficiency and effects of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) by acting on its receptors. As this site is the most prolific inhibitory receptor set within the brain, its modulation results in the sedating (or calming effects) of etizolam on the nervous system.