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Orfidal: uses and side effects of this medicine

Orfidal: uses and side effects of this medicine

February 1, 2023

Anxiety is next to depression one of the most frequent psychological problems Worldwide. Our lifestyle can lead to a profound activation and reaction of both the mind and the body. This anxiety may be a mere temporary inconvenience for some, but others may be faced with a crippling obstacle against which they are not able to fight.

Fortunately, there are various therapies to help manage it and reduce its impact, both at the level of psychotherapy and pharmacological level. Among the latter we can find one of the most widely known anxiolytic drugs in the population: the Orfidal .

Throughout this article we will see what this drug is, how it works and what it is prescribed for, as well as its possible side effects and contraindications.

  • Related article: "Types of anxiolytics: the drugs that fight anxiety"

What is Orfidal?

It receives the name of Orfidal one of the most popular and used psychotropic drugs which is part of the group of drugs with psychoactive effect known as anxiolytics , and within these benzodiazepines. The main active ingredient of this drug is Lorazepam: in fact Orfidal is one of the commercial names that has this substance.

As a benzodiazepine, Orfidal is a drug mainly prescribed as anxiolytic and is also considered a hypnotic-sedative, in addition to effects at the level of muscle relaxation and as an anticonvulsant. It is a highly effective drug, although it also has some addictive potential and can generate some side effects.

This medicine is part of the intermediate life benzodiazepines , which implies that it remains in the body for a period of time between twelve and twenty-four hours and its effects remain in effect for a relatively long time throughout the day.

Mechanism of action

The functioning of Orfidal, whose active principle is as we have said Lorazepam, is based mainly on a mechanism of action in which the drug exerts an indirect agonist role of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors.

In other words, Orfidal acts at the neuronal level, favoring and increasing the activity of one of the neurotransmitters in the brain that has the greatest role in inhibiting or decreasing neuronal activation, GABA. It is the increase of the latter which reduces the anxious symptoms and generates relaxation and sedation effects. The effect is especially relevant in the limbic system , the main area of ​​the brain that governs the emotional sphere, as well as different regions of the cortex which allows the processing of information and reasoning.

The usefulness of this drug is enormous and highly effective, with the advantage that it usually does not generate excessively disabling side effects and allows us to continue with our normal day to day.

Therapeutic indications: in what disorders is it used?

The main indication of Orfidal or any drug with the same active principle is basically the treatment of short-term anxiety, regardless of whether or not there is an anxiety disorder or if we are facing a reaction to a specific stimulus or situation. Of course, this drug It should only be used in situations of great stress and anguish (with medical indication), since it also has its disadvantages and risks.

In addition to that, as hypnotic-sedative that is also particularly useful at the time of making a pharmacological treatment for insomnia or for other sleep disturbances in which this appears by default.

It is often also used during depressive episodes, since in them it is frequent the sleep problems and the comorbid appearance of anxious clinic, and also in other alterations in which a level of intense emotionality appears. It is also used in people with problems arising from the withdrawal of substances such as alcohol.

It is also not surprising that it is used in the treatment of some organic diseases linked to anxious problems, such as irritable bowel or the presence of ulcers, or even to treat problems such as nausea in the treatment with chemotherapy for cancer. Likewise and although it is not an indication as such, sometimes used for the treatment of epilepsy due to its anticonvulsant properties.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of Anxiety Disorders and their characteristics"

Side effects

Although highly prescribed and very useful, the fact is that Orfidal's use is not free of risks or the emergence of possible undesirable side effects.There are also specific sectors of the population that should not take it, having it contraindicated.

As main and most notorious side effects, we can first find the existence of sedation. Although depending on the case and the situation can be useful, It is possible that the sedative action of the drug hinders the maintenance of wakefulness during the day and decrease performance and productivity in various areas, in addition to fatigue and reluctance. Another possible side effect is the emergence of a state of affective dullness, and a slight sensation of suffocation.

It is possible that it appears loss of muscle tone, confusion or slowing down . In addition, dizziness or difficulties in the coordination of movements and speech are not uncommon. Although it is sometimes used in depressions with anxious characteristics, the truth is that it can also lead to the appearance of depressive symptomatology.

It is not infrequent that punctual memory problems do not appear, often at the level of difficulties in learning new things or remembering a specific event, since it also has amnesic properties. It can also generate an alteration at a sexual level, causing a drop in libido in both sexes or problems of erection in man. Vertigo and digestive problems and nausea are also possible.

Less frequent but also possible are hypersensitivity reactions and allergies, decreased body temperature, hypotension, hyponatremia (lack of sodium) and constipation. Sometimes paradoxical reactions can occur, that is contrary to what the drug would generally do: generate anxiety, nervousness, panic, agitation, muscle tension, emotional lability and irritability.

In addition, it is also possible that appear conditions that can be dangerous for life such as thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis, in which there is a decrease in platelets and white blood cells and / or red blood (thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis).


Orfidal is contraindicated in people with heart problems, bradycardia and cardiorespiratory depressions or insufficiencies , since its action favors the appearance of this type of problems. Also people with liver failure.

Similarly, people with hypoxia or lack of oxygen should also avoid its use. They should also avoid pregnant women , at least during the first quarter. Neither should be consumed by children or nursing mothers, since it facilitates the acquisition of dependency and abstinence syndromes by children with this drug. Do not drive or use heavy machinery after consumption due to sedation.

Likewise, the combination with alcohol and other drugs should be avoided, in addition to that in case of using another type of medication it will be necessary to inform the doctor due to the possible interaction between drugs and their possible effects.

Finally, it should be taken into account that Lorazepam is a substance that like the rest of the benzodiazepines has addictive potential , so that its consumption should be extremely prescribed by a professional and not extend beyond twelve weeks. Likewise, the cessation of their use should be scheduled and carried out gradually, never at a stroke, due to the risk of the appearance of withdrawal syndromes.

Bibliographic references:

  • Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (2018). PROSPECTUS: INFORMATION FOR THE USER. ORFIDAL 1 MG COMPRIMIDOS. LORAZEPAM. [On-line]. Available at: //
  • Gómez, M. (2012). Psychobiology CEDE Preparation Manual PIR.12. CEDE: Madrid.
  • Salazar, M .; Peralta, C .; Pastor, J. (2011). Manual of Psychopharmacology. Madrid, Panamericana Medical Publishing House.
  • Vidal Vademecum Spain (2015). Orfidal Comp. 1 mg. Vademecum [Online]. Available at: //

Lorazepam Treats Anxiety Disorder Symptoms - Overview (February 2023).

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