Medically Reviewed By Jodi Mabry, Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Recently, there has been a surge in non-FDA-approved “gas station drugs”, or unregulated substances frequently found at small convenience stores or gas stations. One of the more recent drugs to appear on the scene is etizolam. Due to the lack of legal supervision, drugs such as etizolam are very dangerous and should be avoided. If you or a loved one has begun using this substance, it is important to know what side effects you can anticipate, and be able to identify signs of withdrawal. 

What is Etizolam?

Etizolam was patented in Japan in 1973 as a Benzodiazepine analog drug to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. As a benzodiazepine analog, etizolam is clinically categorized as a benzo due to the effect it has on GABA neurotransmitters in the brain; however, the two substances have slight differences in chemical composition.

Proven to be at a lower risk for abuse and addiction compared to other benzos such as Xanax or Klonopin, this research benzodiazepine was approved for medical use in Japan in 1983. Etizolam has the same sedative properties as basic benzodiazepines but, due to its experimental nature, has never been approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration.  

Etizolam is currently classified as a controlled, illicit substance in eleven states throughout the U.S.. Sold primarily online and in some convenience stores where it remains legal, this benzo analog has been associated with adverse reactions such as extreme or prolonged eye twitching, skin lesions, and amnesia.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, there has been a rise in the abuse of etizolam, with the Blue Ridge Poison Center calling etizolam an emerging drug of concern. An affiliate of the DEA, the National Forensic Laboratory Information System,  reported 600 incidents of etizolam drug seizures in 2016 which increased significantly to 1,570 seizures in 2018.

Etizolam Side Effects 

The side effects of this research drug are very similar to traditional benzodiazepines. As a sedative, etizolam affects the respiratory and central nervous systems. A unique side effect of this drug, however, is involuntary tremors or muscle spasms when abused. The following are side effects of etizolam use: 

Extreme fatigue

Blurred vision

Impaired motor skills 

Slurred speech

Tremors or spasms 


Memory loss


Etizolam Withdrawal Side Effects 

Because this drug is classified as a benzodiazepine analog, the side effects of withdrawal are very similar to the effects of benzo withdrawal. Considered one of the most dangerous drug types to withdraw from, benzos can cause life-threatening side effects, such as seizures, when use is abruptly stopped.

Withdrawing from benzos, including etizolam, can be painful. There is also a high likelihood of relapse associated with these drugs. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help when attempting to detox from these drugs. Side effects of withdrawal from etizolam include: 

Profuse sweating

Tremors or muscle spasms 




Acts of violence 

Extreme mood swings 

Benzo withdrawal syndrome

Asheville Recovery Center is Here to Help

It is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with a substance addiction. The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. Our addiction specialists are experts in their field and will be there to support you every step of the way. 

 If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with etizolam abuse or addiction, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.

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