Relative abuse liability of triazolam: Experimental assessment in animals and humans

Roland R. Griffiths, Richard J. Lamb, Nancy A. Ator, John D. Roache, Joseph V. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The abuse liability of a drug is a positive, interactive function of the reinforcing and adverse effects of the drug. The relative abuse liability of the hypnotic benzodiazeine, triazolam, has been controversial. This paper reviews animal and human studies bearing on its relative abuse liability, including data on pharmacological profile, reinforcing effects, liking, speed of onset, discriminative stimulus effects, subjective effects, physiological dependence, rebound and early morning insomnia, drug produced anxiety, lethality in overdose, psychomotor impairment, interactions with ethanol, anterograde amnesia, impaired awareness of drug effect, and other psychiatric and behavioral disturbances. It is concluded that the abuse liability of triazolam is less than that of the intermediate duration barbiturates such as pentobarbital. Although there are considerable data indicating similarities of triazolam to other benzodiazepines, there is also substantial speculation among clinical investigators and some limited data suggesting that the abuse liability of triazolam is greater than that of a variety of other benzodiazepines, and virtually no credible data or speculation that it is less. Further research will be necessary to clarify definitively the abuse liability of triazolam relative to other benzodiazepines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-151
Number of pages19
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse liability
  • Adverse effects
  • Amnesia
  • Animals
  • Baboons
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Dependence
  • Drug discrimination
  • Drug liking
  • Drug self-administration
  • Ethanol interactions
  • Humans
  • Lethality
  • Psychiatric disturbance
  • Psychomotor impairment
  • Reinforcing effects
  • Subjective effects
  • Triazolam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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