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Front Neurol. 2012 Apr 17;3:58. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2012.00058. eCollection 2012.

Efficacy of zolpidem for dystonia: a study among different subtypes.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institute of Health Biosciences, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokushima Tokushima, Japan.


Although there are some newly developed options to treat dystonia, its medical treatment is not always satisfactory. Zolpidem, an imidazopyridine agonist with a high affinity on benzodiazepine subtype receptor BZ1 (ω1), was found to improve clinical symptoms of dystonia in a limited number of case reports. To investigate what subtype of dystonia is responsive to the therapy, we conducted an open label study to assess the efficacy of zolpidem (5-20 mg) in 34 patients suffering from miscellaneous types of dystonia using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS). Patients were entered into the study if they had been refractory to other medications as evaluated by BFMDRS (no change in the previous two successive visits). After zolpidem therapy, the scores in the patients as a whole were decreased from 7.2 ± 7.9 to 5.5 ± 5.0 (P = 0.042). Patients with generalized dystonia, Meige syndrome/blepharospasm, and hand dystonia improved in the scale by 27.8, 17.8, and 31.0%, respectively, whereas no improvement was found in cervical dystonia patients. Overall response rate among patients were comparable to that of trihexyphenidyl. Zolpidem may be a therapeutic option for generalized dystonia, Meige syndrome, and hand dystonia including musician's. Drowsiness was the dose-limiting factor.


Meige syndrome; generalized dystonia; hand dystonia; zolpidem

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