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Volume 10 No. 01
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Scientific Investigations

The Effect of Two Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonist Hypnotics on Sleep-Dependent Memory Consolidation

http://dx.doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.3352

Janine M. Hall-Porter, Ph.D.; Paula K. Schweitzer, Ph.D.; Rhody D. Eisenstein, M.D., F.A.A.S.M.; Hasan Ali H. Ahmed, M.D.; James K. Walsh, Ph.D., F.A.A.S.M.
Sleep Medicine and Research Center, St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, MO

Introduction:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that sleep promotes memory consolidation, but there is little research on the effect of hypnotics on sleep-dependent memory consolidation. We compared bedtime administration of zolpidem-ER 12.5 mg (6- to 8-h duration of action), middle-of-the-night administration of zaleplon 10 mg (3- to 4-h duration of action), and placebo to examine the effect of different durations of hypnotic drug exposure on memory consolidation during sleep.

Methods:

Twenty-two participants with no sleep complaints underwent 3 conditions in a counterbalanced crossover study: (1) zolpidem-ER 12.5 mg (bedtime dosing), (2) zaleplon 10 mg (middle-of-the-night dosing), and (3) placebo. Memory testing was conducted before and after an 8-h sleep period, using a word pair association task (WPT; declarative memory) and a finger-tapping task (FTT; procedural memory).

Results:

ANOVA revealed a significant condition effect for the WPT (p = 0.025) and a trend for the FTT (p = 0.067), which was significant when sex was added to the model (p = 0.014). Improvement in memory performance following sleep was lower with bedtime dosing of zolpidem-ER compared to placebo and middle-of-the-night dosing of zaleplon. There were no differences between placebo and zaleplon.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that in some circumstances hypnotics may have the potential to reduce the degree of sleep-dependent memory consolidation and that drug-free sleep early in the night may ameliorate this effect.

Citation:

Hall-Porter JM; Schweitzer PK; Eisenstein RD; Ahmed HAH; Walsh JK. The effect of two benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics on sleep-dependent memory consolidation. J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(1):27-34.




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