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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Apr;155(1):11-7.

Treatment regimen and hypnotic self-administration.

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  • 1Henry Ford Hospital, Sleep Disorders and Research Center, 2799 West Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.



Previous studies have shown that insomniacs self-administer hypnotics at high nightly rates. This study determined whether prior experience with different treatment regimens (i.e., instructions and capsule availability) would alter the previously observed high hypnotic self-administration rates.


Sixty-four healthy men and women with (n = 32) and without (n = 32) insomnia, 21-55 years, self administered placebo or triazolam (0.25 mg) after different prior treatment regimens. They received one of three different treatment regimens enforced for 11 nights: a capsule each night, a capsule as needed, or a capsule every third night. On 14 subsequent nights they choose to self-administer a capsule or not, placebo during 1 week and triazolam (0.25 mg) the other (counterbalanced in order).


Insomniacs self-administered more capsules than normals and triazolam was self-administered more than placebo. For both groups, treatment regimen had a minimal effect on capsule self-administration. During the treatment phase, triazolam improved self-ratings of sleep relative to placebo. During the choice phase, nightly variations in self-rated sleep predicted self-administration of a capsule on the following night, regardless of whether the capsule was active drug or placebo.


The data of this study are consistent with the view that hypnotic self-administration by insomniacs is therapy-seeking behavior and not drug abuse.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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