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Eur J Pharmacol. 2001 Mar;415(2-3):181-9.

Sedative and anxiolytic effects of zopiclone's enantiomers and metabolite.

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Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


We evaluated racemic zopiclone, its (S)- and (R)-enantiomers and a metabolite, (S)-desmethylzopiclone, for their actions on locomotor activity, rotarod performance, the elevated plus maze and the Vogel conflict test of anxiety, and electroconvulsive shock-induced seizures duration. Zopiclone and its (R)- and (S)-enantiomers reduced locomotor activity, and zopiclone and its (S)-enantiomer disrupted rotarod performance at 10 mg/kg. (S)-desmethylzopiclone did not alter these measures at doses of less than 200 mg/kg. (S)-desmethylzopiclone altered plus maze performance at the lowest dose of all the zopiclone derivatives tested, caused a dose-related effect on the Vogel conflict test and caused a dose-related reduction of electroconvulsive shock-induced seizure durations. The data indicate that (S)-desmethylzopiclone can bring about an anxiolytic effect without a substantial degree of central nervous system depression, and suggest that the agent may be particularly useful clinically in the treatment of anxiety.

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