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Ann Pharmacother. 2004 Apr;38(4):590-4. Epub 2004 Feb 13.

Detoxification from high-dose zolpidem using diazepam.

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Psychiatry Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Florida A&M University, Miami Campus, Miami, FL 33136-1038, USA.



To report a rare case of physical and psychological addiction to an excessive dose of zolpidem and subsequent completed detoxification using diazepam.


A 46-year-old white man with a history of polysubstance abuse received a prescription for zolpidem 2 years prior to his hospital detoxification. During that time, he gradually escalated the total dosage to an amount of 400 mg/day in divided doses. Upon hospitalization, he was detoxified using a standard benzodiazepine 7-day diazepam tapering regimen.


Zolpidem is a nonbenzodiazepine medication approved for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Its mechanism is a selective benzodiazepine type 1 receptor agonist. The selectivity of the drug for the type 1 receptor may not be absolute and is inversely dose dependent. Compared with the benzodiazepines, zolpidem addiction is rare. However, at higher than recommended doses for extended periods of time, its addictive potential may be similar to that of the benzodiazepines.


Given the similarities in receptor binding and pharmacologic activities of zolpidem and the benzodiazepines, we chose to use a standard benzodiazepine detoxification protocol to treat zolpidem withdrawal. Confirmation of this has been evidenced by successful zolpidem detoxification using a standard 7-day benzodiazepine/diazepam taper regimen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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