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Clin J Sport Med. 2000 Apr;10(2):123-8.

Comparative effects of zopiclone and loprazolam on psychomotor and physical performance in active individuals.

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Medical Research Council, Department of Physiology, University of Cape Town Medical School, The Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands.



Sedative hypnotics are used by athletes to alleviate precompetition anxiety and insomnia. The effects of these agents on exercise tolerance have not been extensively researched.


To determine the effects of sedative hypnotics on psychomotor and physical performance, a double-blind, placebo- (P) controlled, cross-over designed trial investigated the effects of zopiclone (Z) and loprazolam (L) on performance in 12 athletes.


Subjects ingested either P, Z (7.5 mg), or L (2 mg) on three different occasions separated by a 1-week washout period. Eye-hand coordination tests, a 30-m sprint test, an agility test, and a graded treadmill run to exhaustion for determination of VO2max were performed 10 hours after drug administration.


Subjects reported a significantly greater hangover effect following ingestion of L (8/11 subjects) compared with ingestion of Z (3/11 subjects; p < 0.01). A greater number of subjects felt alert after ingestion of P (9/11 subjects) and Z (9/11 subjects) compared with L (4/11 subjects; p < 0.01). The results of the eye-hand coordination tests, the 30-m sprint, the T-test, the VO2max, and the time to exhaustion during the treadmill run were not significantly altered following the ingestion of P, Z, and L. There was a significant difference between the delta values for Z and L for the number of missed responses in the eye-hand coordination tests (p < 0.02). Therefore, following the ingestion of L, subjects experienced a significant hangover effect and altered reaction time, whereas the ingestion of Z did not significantly impair either psychomotor or physical performance in the administered tests.


Investigate the extent of the effects of sedative hypnotics on exercise performances, enabling team physicians to prescribe such drugs to the athlete more effectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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