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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998 Dec;140(4):486-95.

Abuse liability of flunitrazepam among methadone-maintained patients.

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Pharmacology Research Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.


Abuse liability and acute subjective and psychomotor effects of flunitrazepam were assessed in ten methadone-maintained males with history of benzodiazepine and alcohol use, who voluntarily participated in a double-blind, controlled, cross-over, randomized clinical trial. There were six experimental sessions in which a single oral dose of flunitrazepam 1, 2, and 4 mg; triazolam 0.5 and 0.75 mg; and placebo was given. Evaluations included physiological measures; psychomotor performance tasks (simple reaction time, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, balance task, Maddox-wing device); and self-administered subjective effects questionnaires [Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI), Profile of Mood States (POMS), a series of visual analog scales (VAS)]. All drugs but flunitrazepam 1 mg caused an impairment of psychomotor tasks. Effects were more evident with the highest doses of both drugs. Only flunitrazepam 4 mg produced a significant decrease in balance time. Triazolam 0.75 mg induced increases in sedation measured by ARCI-PCAG, depression in POMS, and VAS-drowsiness scores. Flunitrazepam 4mg caused euphoria-related effects as measured by increases in ARCI-MBG and "high" scores in the VAS. Our findings of flunitrazepam-induced euphoria in methadone-maintained subjects together with epidemiological evidence of flunitrazepam abuse by opioid dependents, suggest that it may be included in the group of benzodiazepines with a relatively high abuse potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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