Flubromazolam—A new life-threatening designer benzodiazepine

Magdalena Łukasik-Głębocka, Karina Sommerfeld, Artur Teżyk, Barbara Zielińska-Psuja, Paweł Panieński, Czesław Żaba
Clinical Toxicology 2016, 54 (1): 66-8

CONTEXT: In addition to designer benzodiazepines such as etizolam, deschloroetizolam, pyrazolam, diclazepam, nifoxipam, or clonazolam, a new psychoactive substance like flubromazolam, triazole of flubromazepam has become available. Flubromazolam is currently not marketed as a medication but rather as a research chemical and recreational drug. It mostly causes sedative effects but also has moderate anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant effects. A case of a severe intoxication of flubromazolam has been reported.

CASE DETAILS: A 27-year-old man, presented with deep coma, bilateral pinpoint unreactive pupils, acute respiratory failure and hypotension, complicated by hypoxic ischemic changes in the central nervous system. A positive result of a urine screening test confirmed the presence of benzodiazepines, which resulted in administration of flumazenil and improved patient consciousness. Quantitative method of liquid chromatography indicated flubromazolam in the patient's serum at 59 ng/mL and urine at 105 ng/mL about 19 h after ingestion of 3 mg dose. On admission, serum creatine kinase was 15,960 U/L. The patient was treated with mechanical ventilation, intravenous fluids, flumazenil and continuous infusion of norepinephrine at a dose of 0.12 µg/kg/min. The patient survived and on the ninth day of hospitalization he was transferred to the Department of Neurology.

DISCUSSION: Flubromazolam is a new designer drug. Recreational use may be a cause of prolonged, severe intoxication associated with coma, hypotension, and rhabdomyolysis.

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