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Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Withdrawal And Detox Symptoms Timeline

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 20, 2019

Rohypnol is a powerful sedative that people may use to treat insomnia or anxiety. This benzodiazepine is highly addictive and can lead to dependence and withdrawal. People who stop taking Rohypnol abruptly may experience withdrawal symptoms, including seizure.

Rohypnol is the brand name for the drug flunitrazepam. This central nervous system depressant works to relax the various systems of the body.

People who take Rohypnol are at risk of dependence and withdrawal. Being dependent on a substance means a person requires the drug to function normally. Without it, they may suffer withdrawal symptoms like muscle pains, restlessness, and anxiety.

Rohypnol is illegal in the U.S., due to its connection with sexual assault and date rape. However, people in other countries are prescribed this medication to help with conditions like insomnia. Rohypnol is often smuggled into the U.S. and used illegally.

Benzodiazepines like Rohypnol can lead to a difficult withdrawal period. If a person stops taking Rohypnol suddenly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms within 24-48 hours after last use.

Why Does Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Cause Withdrawal And Detox Symptoms?

Classified as a sedative-hypnotic, Rohypnol causes people to become extremely drowsy, or to lose consciousness. Rohypnol may also lead to a relaxed, euphoric feeling of being “high.”

When people take Rohypnol recreationally, their body and mind can become dependent on the substance. Over time, people who are dependent on Rohypnol may develop a tolerance to it. This means their body requires larger or more frequent doses to get the same effects and to avoid withdrawal.

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Rohypnol is a potent sedative. Withdrawing from this substance can cause symptoms that range from muscle pain and headaches to tremors, seizure, and shock.

Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s way of detoxing itself from toxins leftover from substance abuse. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is a serious condition and can be life-threatening. Because of this, it’s safest to detox under medical care.

Rohypnol Withdrawal And Detox Symptoms

Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be a painful process. Drugs like Rohypnol can cause physical as well as psychological withdrawal symptoms. These will usually begin within 24 hours of last use.

Common symptoms of Rohypnol withdrawal and detox include:

  • muscle pain
  • agitation
  • tension
  • restlessness
  • delirium (mental confusion)
  • numbness
  • tingling skin, especially hands and feet
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • shock

People may have different reactions to Rohypnol and its withdrawal symptoms. The severity of a person’s detox process will depend on several factors, including how much Rohypnol they were using and how long they have been taking the drug.

Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Withdrawal And Detox Timeline

Rohypnol is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine, with sedative effects that are ten times stronger than Valium. Flunitrazepam effects usually take about 20 minutes to kick in, and the drug leads to a high that lasts between 4-6 hours.

Once the high begins to wear off, a person’s body begins to clear itself of the drug. This is called the detoxification period, and usually marks the onset of withdrawal symptoms like anxiety.

Depending on how much flunitrazepam a person was taking, withdrawal symptoms may begin as early as several hours after last use. The length of the detox timeline will differ from person to person, based on the amount of the drug in their system.

Day 1 of Rohypnol Withdrawal

The first day after a person stops using Rohypnol, they may feel very anxious. Some people may have trouble sleeping, as Rohypnol can lead to insomnia (even if a person only used the drug short-term).

Additional symptoms of initial withdrawal may include:

  • headache
  • irritability
  • numbness
  • restlessness
  • muscle cramping

Days 2 and 3 of Rohypnol Withdrawal

The next phase of benzodiazepine detox usually includes peak withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include tingling in the hands and feet, confusion, and body tremors.

If a person has been taking a large amount of Rohypnol, they may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures. Others may suffer from hallucinations (hearing, seeing, and feeling things that aren’t there).

Days 4-6 of Rohypnol Withdrawal

Once the acute withdrawal symptoms have passed, many people are left with anxiety and psychological discomfort. If a person has suffered from insomnia during withdrawal, a lack of sleep can exaggerate the mental anguish.

During the detox process, it’s important to remember that withdrawal symptoms are temporary. However, because the symptoms can be overwhelming, it may be beneficial to consider detoxing in a medically supervised environment.

Potential Risks Of Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Withdrawal And Detox

It can be difficult to take care of yourself during the distressing withdrawal period. Post-detox, many people suffer from dehydration and lack of sleep.

Detoxing from Rohypnol can also increase a person’s chance of overdose. Some people withdraw and then end up relapsing (returning to the substance). Because they have already detoxed, their body can no longer handle the previous dose they were used to. This decrease in tolerance can lead to Rohypnol overdose, which can be fatal.

The safest way to withdraw from benzodiazepines like Rohypnol is in a medical detox program. In these supportive environments, patients are closely monitored and provided with medical care.

Patients also receive the emotional and psychological support they need, in order to safely come off the substance in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

Many medical detox programs also provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This type of therapy can help patients get much-needed rest, so they can remain stabilized throughout the detox process.

Getting Treatment For Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Withdrawal And Detox

Many people who take benzodiazepines have tried to get off these drugs in the past. Unfortunately, difficult withdrawal symptoms often send people right back to the substance they are trying to quit.

If you or someone you love wants to get off Rohypnol for good, it may be time to look at a medical detox program. Most inpatient addiction treatment centers offer on-site detoxification programs.

Once a person has detoxed from Rohypnol, they are able to engage in other recovery therapies, including group counseling and 12-step support.

You do not have to battle Rohypnol withdrawal alone. To learn more about Rohypnol withdrawal symptoms, or to find a medical detox program near you, contact one of our treatment specialists today.

Center for Substance Abuse Research - Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)

U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration - Drugs of Abuse

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly Abused Drugs Charts

National Center for Biotechnology Information - Rohypnol® (Flunitrazepam)

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