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J Clin Pharmacol. 1988 Jan;28(1):52-63.

Comparison of lorazepam and flurazepam as hypnotic agents in chronic insomniacs.

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  • 1Sleep Research Unit, St. Mary's Hospital Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Hypnotic efficacy and safety of 3 weeks of daily doses of 2 mg lorazepam or 30 mg flurazepam were compared in a double-blind cross-over study in eight chronic insomniacs between the ages of 29 and 60 years. Subjects were monitored in the sleep laboratory twice weekly for a total of 25 nights. Also, subjective estimates of sleep, vigilance tests, and adverse effects were recorded throughout the study. Findings indicated lorazepam performed better than flurazepam in most sleep parameters. With lorazepam there was improvement from baseline in percentage of sleep time (P less than .05); in total wake time after sleep onset (P less than .01) and in last third of night (P less than .05); in percentage of stage 2 (P less than .05) (weeks 1, 2, 3) and in percentage of night in stage 4 (weeks 2 and 3). Only total wake time from baseline improved (P less than .05) with flurazepam (week 2). Objective and subjective sleep parameters did not correlate well for either drug. Neither drug impaired REM sleep or vigilance test performance. Side effects (grogginess, lethargy; flurazepam only) were few and none was unexpected; neither rebound insomnia nor early morning insomnia occurred with either drug. In summary, both lorazepam 2 mg at bedtime and flurazepam 30 mg at bedtime were found to be effective and safe for treating chronic insomnia, as measured by parameters of sleep and daytime functioning. Lorazepam had more favorable effects on sleep than did flurazepam.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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