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Aviat Space Environ Med. 1997 Oct;68(10):926-31.

Zolpidem as a fatigue countermeasure.

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School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX, USA.



In light of greater emphasis on global reach, fatigue has a real potential to negatively impact the U.S. Air Force (USAF) mission. Sustained operations and extended air missions will become ever more common and critical in a smaller USAF and human performance may be the most important limiting factor in the effectiveness of advanced weapons systems. Pharmaceuticals may be considered for fatigue countermeasures.


A literature review was conducted to examine the potential of zolpidem as a pharmaceutical countermeasure against fatigue in USAF operations.


Zolpidem is a hypnotic which appears to cause less global impairment than benzodiazepines during peak effect, and is free of persistent performance decrement or hangover effect. Few adverse effects have been reported. Several studies suggest a benefit of effective sleep produced by hypnotics on next day performance compared with sleep of questionable quality using no medication.


The USAF should conduct further investigation into the potential safety and efficacy of zolpidem during sustained operations and extended air operations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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