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Hypnotic Medications and Memory: Effect of Drug Exposure During the Night

This study has been completed.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri Identifier:
First received: July 8, 2010
Last updated: August 25, 2014
Last verified: August 2014
The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of two hypnotic medications, zolpidem extended release and zaleplon, on memory. It is expected that a hypnotic with shorter drug duration will allow greater memory consolidation than a hypnotic with longer drug duration.

Condition Intervention Phase
Drug: zaleplon
Drug: zolpidem extended release
Drug: bedtime placebo
Drug: middle of the night placebo
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Care Provider)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Hypnotic Medications and Sleep-dependent Memory Consolidation: the Effect of Variable Drug Exposure During the Night

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Memory [ Time Frame: 8 timepoints: 4 evenings and 4 mornings ]
    Two memory tasks will be used to assess memory.

Enrollment: 26
Study Start Date: October 2010
Study Completion Date: May 2011
Primary Completion Date: May 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: Bedtime Placebo Drug: bedtime placebo
Placebo Comparator: Middle of the Night Placebo Drug: middle of the night placebo
Experimental: Zolpidem Drug: zolpidem extended release
12.5 mg
Other Name: Ambien CR
Experimental: Zaleplon Drug: zaleplon
10 mg
Other Name: Sonata

Detailed Description:

A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that sleep promotes memory consolidation in healthy individuals. However, little research has been conducted regarding the effect of hypnotics on sleep-dependent memory. One study found that zopiclone (7.5 mg), but not brotizolam (0.25 mg), impaired sleep-dependent memory consolidation in normal sleepers. Another study reported significant impairment of sleep-dependent memory on a motor task with triazolam (0.375 mg), but not with zolpidem immediate release (10 mg). These studies provide some evidence that sedative-hypnotic drugs may impair sleep-dependent memory consolidation, but further investigation is clearly needed in this area. Because hypnotics are commonly prescribed for insomnia, it is important to determine if there is a significant risk of impairment in sleep-dependent memory consolidation associated with these medications. Further, investigation of alternative doses and drug regimens upon memory consolidation appears warranted.

The purpose of the current study is to determine the effect of two hypnotic medications on sleep-dependent memory consolidation in normal sleepers. Zolpidem extended release, which will be active for most of the sleep period when administered at bedtime, will be compared to zaleplon, which will be active for half of the sleep period when administered in the middle of the night. This comparison allows us to address the question of whether a few hours of drug-free sleep results in better memory consolidation than sleep with drug throughout the night.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 50 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 18 to 50 years of age
  • no sleep complaints or problems
  • good sleep quality per questionnaire
  • sufficient time in bed each night

Exclusion Criteria:

  • any clinically significant unstable medical condition
  • recent psychiatric disorder
  • prior diagnosis or symptoms of a sleep disorder
  • recent history of substance abuse
  • recent use of prescription hypnotic medication or over-the-counter sleep aid
  • recent use of psychotropic medication
  • history of adverse reaction to benzodiazepines
  • body mass index > 36
  • currently pregnant or nursing
  • currently working rotating or night shift
  • consumption of > 700 mg per day of xanthine-containing food or beverages
  • consumption of > 14 units of alcohol per week
  • smoke > 1 pack of cigarettes per day, use of chewing tobacco more than 3 times per day, or unable to refrain from smoking or chewing without distress or discomfort while in the sleep laboratory
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01159652

United States, Missouri
St. Luke's Hospital Sleep Medicine and Research Center
Chesterfield, Missouri, United States, 63017
Sponsors and Collaborators
St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Principal Investigator: Janine M Hall-Porter, PhD St. Luke's Hospital
  More Information

Responsible Party: St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri Identifier: NCT01159652     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 63-SR-10
Study First Received: July 8, 2010
Last Updated: August 25, 2014

Keywords provided by St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri:
Hypnotics and Sedatives
Monitoring, sleep

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Hypnotics and Sedatives
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
GABA-A Receptor Agonists
GABA Agonists
GABA Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
GABA Modulators processed this record on May 25, 2017