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J Clin Psychiatry. 1991 Jul;52 Suppl:14-5.

Residual effects of hypnotics: an update.

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Robens Institute of Health and Safety, University of Surrey, United Kingdom.


The sedative/hypnotic benzodiazepines introduced worldwide in the early 1960s were acclaimed for their low chemical toxicity and safety in clinical use. A decade later, some researchers and clinicians found that while all the drugs had undoubted potency and efficacy as sleep inducers and maintainers, the trade-off in residual effects (e.g., excessive daytime tiredness, poor concentration, impaired psychomotor performance, lowered mental abilities) was cause for concern. These sequelae not only affected patients' safety and ability to perform daytime tasks, but were also counter-therapeutic; the daytime sleep that was produced interfered with the natural nocturnal sleep. In a recent study, the degree to which patient abilities were impaired was measured by a number of psychomotor tests. Benzodiazepines with a duration of clinical effect of less than 8 to 10 hours produced fewer, less frequent residual effects than those with a measurable activity in excess of the normal nocturnal sleep period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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