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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1993 Apr;13(2):100-6.

Comparison of the effects of zolpidem and triazolam on memory functions, psychomotor performances, and postural sway in healthy subjects.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Zolpidem is a rapid-onset, short-duration imidazopyridine hypnotic drug and is specific agonist of the omega-1 (BZD1) receptors. Its hypnotic characteristics resemble those of triazolam. The aims of this study were to assess the effects of zolpidem on memory (the main objective), psychomotor performances, and postural sway (secondary objectives) in 18 healthy subjects and to compare them with those of triazolam and placebo. Short- and long-term memory (paired words associate and pictures test), psychomotor performances (critical flicker fusion frequency, choice reaction time, digit symbol substitution test), and postural sway were evaluated before and 1.5, 4, 6, and 8 h after the administration of a single dose of zolpidem (10 mg), triazolam (0.25 mg), and placebo. For each assessment, the maximal effect for both hypnotic drugs occurred 1.5 hour after intake. Both drugs decreased psychomotor performance, impaired memory, and increased postural sway. The effects of both hypnotic agents were short lasting, and no alterations were found 6 and 8 hours, respectively, after drug intake. No clinically relevant differences were found between zolpidem and triazolam for memory, psychomotor performance, postural sway, or adverse effects. It may be concluded that zolpidem, like triazolam, impairs short- and long-term memory, psychomotor performances, and postural sway and that these effects are of short duration.

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