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Health - Zolpidem abuse potential: studies

Discussion in 'Downers and sleeping pills' started by pharmapsyche, Jan 2, 2006.

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  1. pharmapsyche

    pharmapsyche AKA Miss Methylene Titanium Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    Searching the Medline database, I came across some interesting information reguarding the abuse potential of zolpidem. It's an important topic to discuss, since there isn't a widely accepted consensus among people whether or not zolpidem has abuse potential. Of course, most sedative-hypnotic drugs generally carry abuse liability, so it's interesting to see what the studies show. IMO, zolpidem does indeed have abuse potential.

    I'm going to paraphrase this, but I'll provide sources at the end.

    1: This study focused on the behavorial pharmacology of zolpidem administered IV to baboons. The study found that the maximal rate of zolpidem self-injection was higher than the BZD triazolam. When zolpidem was replaced with saline after two weeks of daily injections, a reduction in food intake was noted, which is an indicator of a withdrawl reaction. After the baboons were trained to discriminate between lorazepam, pentobarbital and no-drug, zolpidem occasionally produced both lorazepam and pentobarbital-approperiate responding (more than 80%). Interestingly enough, the rate of zolpidem injections was similar to the rate of intermediate-acting barbiturate injections (pentobarbital) and higher than 11 benzodiazepines which had been previously studied in a similar fashion.

    2:In this study, medical literature that had been written between 1966-2002 concerning zolpidem and zopiclone abuse or dependancy was collected in order to learn more about the abuse potential of these two drugs. Since zolpidem is prescribed twice as often as zopiclone (in Europe, Japan and the USA), the instances of zolpidem abuse were higher than those of zopiclone; 36 cases vs. 22 cases. Both sexes were involved to a similar extent. Most patients had a previous history of drug abuse or psychiatric condition. The study concluded that both zolpidem and zopiclone indeed have abuse potential, albeit less than that of the benzodiazepines. Previous drug abuse or psychiatric condition increased the risk of abuse.

    Those are just two of many Medline articles concerning zolpidem abuse. If I had to distinguish the major consistantcies between articles, I'd say that the following things are factual: zolpidem, when taken orally, is less likely to be abused than the benzodiazepines. Zolpidem acts on BZD receptors and thus shares similar properties to the benzodiazepines, but since it is highly selective, anticonvulsant and myorelaxant properties are not apparent until the dose has been exceeded 10-20x that of the recommended dose. The short-acting BZD triazolam is used as a model for zolpidem's actions and effacy.

    Hope someone finds this somewhat interesting.

    1-Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
    2-Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Germany.
  2. Gahaba22

    Gahaba22 Gold Member

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    Sep 17, 2004
    Tremendous post Benzenerings!

    However, I have always questioned studies that involve caged animals-namely the monkey because of one thing. "If I was put into a cage and then given a mind altering substance over and over again, then asked to choose between it and food, I'm not sure how applicable that is to everyday life." Sure I might continue to choose the mind-altering substance because who wants to just sit in a cage and eat?
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