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Respir Med. 2010 Apr;104(4):518-24. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.10.022. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

Temazepam 10mg does not affect breathing and gas exchange in patients with severe normocapnic COPD.

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Department of Pulmonology, Rijnstate Hospital, 6800 TA Arnhem, The Netherlands.



Benzodiazepines can improve sleep quality, but are also thought to cause respiratory depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aims of this study were to assess the effects of temazepam on indices of circadian respiratory function, dyspnea, sleep quality, and sleepiness in patients with severe COPD and insomnia.


In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study in 14 stable patients with COPD (mean FEV(1) 0.99+/-0.3L) with insomnia, polysomnography with continuous transcutaneous capnography and oximetry, arterial gas sampling, hypercapnic ventilatory response, multiple sleep latency test, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, dyspnea and sleep visual analogue scales (VAS) were performed at baseline, after one week of temazepam 10mg at bedtime and after one week of placebo.


Temazepam did not cause statistically significant changes in mean transcutaneous carbon dioxide tension during sleep compared to placebo (5.9+/-1.0 kPa vs. 6.3+/-1.4 kPa, p-value 0.27), nor in mean oxygen saturation (92+/-3% vs. 92+/-2%, p-value 0.31), nor in any of the other investigated variables, except for the total sleep time and sleep latency VAS, which improved with temazepam.


One week usage of temazepam 10mg does not influence circadian respiratory function, dyspnea, and sleepiness in patients with stable, severe, normocapnic COPD and insomnia and it improves total sleep time and subjective sleep latency. However, this is a preliminary explorative study for assessing the feasibility to perform a larger study on this topic. The clinical implications of this study are very limited.


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