In countries where this drug is used, it is used for treatment of severe cases of sleeping problems, and in some countries as a preanesthetic agent. These were also the uses for which it was originally studied.
It has also been administered as a concurrent dose for patients that are taking ketamine. Rohypnol lowers the side effects of the anesthetic (ketamine), resulting in less confusion in awakening states, less negative influence on pulse rate, and fewer fluctuations in blood pressure.
It has also been shown to have therapeutic use in polysubstance use when combined with anesthetics, opioids, ethanol, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Adverse effects of flunitrazepam include dependency, both physical and psychological; reduced sleep quality resulting in somnolence; and overdose, resulting in excessive sedation, impairment of balance and speech, respiratory depression or coma, and possibly death. Because of the latter, flunitrazepam is commonly used in suicide. When used in late pregnancy, it might cause hypotonia of the foetus.